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Sommersby (1993)
Music Composed by Danny Elfman
Orchestrations by Steve Bartek
Conducted by Jonathan Sheffer and Thomas Pasatieri
Additional Orchestrations by Thomas Pasatieri, Jack Hayes and Phillip Griffin
Recorded and Mixed by Shawn Murphy
Album Produced byDanny Elfman, Ellen Segal and Richard Kraft

Label (Catalogue): Elektra, (9 61491-2)
Availability: Out of print
Purchasing options: Used at

"Muy romantico... But the kind of romance I love so dearly... Slow and dark, with a hero hung by the neck at the end... Joy!" - Danny Elfman

Sommersby is probably Danny Elfman's most popular score for those with just a passing interest in his music or otherwise aren't die-hard enthusiasts (yes, there are some people like that). It probably has to do with the fact that Sommersby is curiously un-Elfman like in many aspects -- but to folks who know his music well, the Elfman-ish elements are evident.

"Main Titles" features Elfman's most unabashed romantic theme ever. It soars with brass fanfares, churns with timpani rumbles and flows with warm strings. In an old interview with Film Score Monthly, Elfman reflected on Sommersby and mentioned that the original cut of the film was much darker and had more tension between Mr. and Mrs. Sommersby's characters. Elfman's music - especially his main theme - reflects that dark undercurrent ("First Love", "Alone"), making this much more than your typical "romance" score. However Danny Elfman strikes a balance, mixing in several upbeat "joy" cues as well, like "At Work" and "Baby".

A unique element to the score and in Elfman's filmography is the writing and orchestration for period instruments and sounds, notably the solo fiddle (performed by Bruce Dukov), guitar (performed by Bill Kanengiser, George Doering, Gregg Nestor and Joe DiBlasi) and percussion (performed by Mike Fisher). The opening of "Welcoming" features a prime example of Elfman's fusion of grand brass fanfares with the more intimate fiddle and guitar work. There are also some distinguished woodwinds in "Main Titles" and "Welcoming", and are sprinkled throughout the rest of the score.

The album is incredibly strong, notably tracks like "Going To Nashville" which features some of Elfman's most pronounced and fluid writing ever and the last three tracks, "Death", "Finale" and "End Credits". Sommersby is essentially a relationship film, but near the end morphs into a quasi-courtroom drama. Elfman handles the transition well and dials up the suspense in "Townsend's Tale", which turns into a weeper around the conclusion of the track. All in all, this is one of a handful of albums that are absolutely essential for fans to own, in order to really get a complete picture of Danny Elfman's versatility. It is apparently becoming hard to find, so should you see it, I recommend buying it immediately.

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Click for enlarged CD artwork
Click cover to enlarge
01. Main Titles (4:41)
02. The Homecoming (1:58)
03. Welcoming (1:34)
04. First Love (3:54)
05. At Work (2:01)
06. Alone (4:23)
07. Return Montage (5:20)
08. Mortal Sin (4:39)
09. Homer (1:07)
10. Going to Nashville (1:42)
11. Baby (2:14)
12. Tea Cups (1:44)
13. Townsend's Tale (6:09)
14. Death (2:12)
15. Finale (4:05)
16. End Credits (3:16)

Total running time: 51:09

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