Film Music Review
The Sammy awards







Music composed by Bruce Rowland. Album produced by Bruce Rowland. Production supervised by Ford A. Thaxton and Mark Banning. Recorded and mixed at5 Allan Eaton Studios, Melbourne, Australia. Digitally Edited and Mastered by James Nelson. CD Art Direction: Mark Banning.

25 Tracks (Playing Time = 42:30)

BSX Records BSXCD 886 (Limited Edition of 1,000 units)

Rating: ***1/2


This soundtrack is by one of Australia's most respected film composers.

Bruce Rowland became known after his very first film score, THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER in 1982, which received the Best Score Award from the Australian Film Industry. He also received Film Score Awards for PHAR LAP and REBEL.

In 1983 he scored a television miniseries based on Nancy Cato's historical novel, ALL THE RIVERS RUN. For this score, Rowland received a Penquin Award from the Australian Film Commission. Yet the soundtrack was only issued on a Swedish LP and later a few tracks on a Bay Cities CD compilation of Rowland's music. Of the 25 tracks on this BSX CD, 12 of them were included on the Swedish LP from 1984. So more than half of the CD tracks have previously unreleased cues.

The CD opens with "Opening Titles" (1:35), which presents the warm and sunny main theme which is heard in various transformations throughout the soundtrack. For example, "The Big Country" (1:58) features an introduction by solo guitar of the main theme before it is heard again in the full orchestra, including a prominent use of brass. Even though the main theme is heard on many occasions, this is not a one theme only soundtrack.

There are other equally appealing themes. One of them is "Adagio in A minor" (3:56) featuring a lovely theme played on solo piano with mostly string accompaniment. Another one is "The Old Sea Captain" (2:14), a minor key cue featuring flute and piano weaving in and around a graceful dancelike theme. A third example is "Slope's Farm," a folksy cue with the solo piano once again and synthesizers and electric guitar added to the mix.

The CD booklet notes by the authoritative Randall D. Larson provides very good background material in just a few pages. The art design for this CD is very stylishly done and the notes are very easy to read. Larson mentions that in a 1988 interview Rowland said - "the problem with ALL THE RIVERS RUN was that it was a miniseries that they didn't have enough money to score, so everything was written as library pieces that were supposedly snipped up by the music editor to fit the pictures." Even though that's the case, this is still a very cohesive soundtrack with the cues working quite well for providing a variety of slow and fast paced cues.

All in all this is a very appealing soundtrack that should make for enjoyable repeated listening.

--Roger L. Hall, 12 May 2006

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