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Soundtrack review: Trans-Siberian adventure (Miguel d’Oliveira – 2015)

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Soundtrack review: Trans-Siberian adventure (Miguel d’Oliveira – 2015)


“Trans-Siberian Adventure” is a 3-part series which follows British actress Joanna Lumley (of Absolutely Fabulous fame) on a trip from Hong Kong to Moscow through China, Mongolia and Russia. During her trip, Joanna revisits her childhood home where her father was stationed, then she travels thousands of miles, visits the obligatory tourist sites (such as the Great Wall of China) and also makes a few unusual stops (such as meeting a shaman in Mongolia). The music was written by Miguel D’Oliveira.

If I had heard the opening cue “Once in a lifetime” without know the title or the background I would have immediately guessed British series. Maybe I would have added “period series” but I’m not sure. Anyway this elegant joy and youthful fervor for me is eternally associated with British television. Maybe I’ve seen too many of those, maybe it’s just instinct but the composer knows this as well. Nothing new here but when the music is so melodic and joyful it doesn’t matter. This cue feels like a late summer day you never want to see end.

A renaissance sounding cue follows and I imagine myself living in those times at a castle. This is what the music evokes to me. Instead of making me try to associate it with the TV show, Miguel d’Oliveira’s creation stirs my imagination and lets it fly freely. This is what good film music is all about. And soaring is the word that best describes “Trans-Siberian Adventure”. The music has wings and isn’t bound by anything. The whole musical journey is made through the air, above ground.

Whenever I find a score like this one I look forward to listening to it again in a certain type of situation. For this one a train ride through the countryside seems like the most appropriate way to enjoy it. I’ve got one coming up in a few weeks so I will get to experience this little dream. I feel good with this music in my ears; it’s playful and happy like a small child begging you to come out and play silly and innocent games.

I get flashes of my first summer in college, of sitting in the course room in the long afternoons waiting to go home. The memories are simple but sweet so yes, there’s also a bit of nostalgia involved here. This only makes listening to “Trans-Siberian adventure” more enjoyable and rewarding. Maybe it caught me in the right mood… but maybe it will do the same for you. Try it. It’s a feel good score which will brighten up your day. Miguel d’Oliveira has got my attention.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 20 / 20

Album excellence: 100%


Once In A Lifetime

Breathtaking Scenery

And So It Begins

Trees In Winter


Window Seat

Moving Scenery

As Far As The Eye Can See




Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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