Film scores

Soundtrack review: Rebecca (Christipher Gunning – 1997)

rebecca_front

I get a special kind of feeling inside when a Caldera release comes along. They have specialized in gems that really move me and I can easily name each of their releases from this year because they’ve all been amazing. This is one of my favorite record labels and I’m happy to get a chance to review their scores. It’s time for “Rebecca” now, the 1997 TV movie starring the wonderful Charles Dance and Faye Dunaway among others. The movie is based on the famous novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier which had already been made into a successful movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. It tells the tragic love story between a rich gentleman and his second wife who not only has to cope with an obsessive and evil housekeeper but also with the shadow of the first wife who obviously died under strange circumstances… Christopher Gunning wrote the score.

There is a sound that can almost instantly hypnotize me and it’s that of a gentle flute. The main titles of “Rebecca” pull me into a dream world and I am floating happily from the first tender moments of this score. I rarely get such an instant reaction. In the same time the sound is so clear that I feel as if I was in the studio where the orchestra recording this masterful theme. I can sense each instrument, I can sense the movement and I am happy to be there.

I am moved and amazed by the sensitivity of the music in the opening cues. “Courting” as well is as fragile as butterfly wings and I can almost imagine the composer and the conductor mesmerizing both the orchestra and the audience. The music is so innocent an so beautiful and then it explodes in orchestral grandeur; it’s the epitome of romance, of pure, wonderful, from other times romance.

“Rebecca” is the kind of score that only Caldera could have released. You don’t hear many scores like this one these days. This is pure orchestral bliss from start to finish… it is one of the most beautiful, dreamy and hypnotic scores I’ve heard in a long long time and also one of those compositions that make me travel back in time. Christopher Gunning gets as romantic as John Barry and paints a musical picture that will last forever. If you love orchestral emotions, run to get this one and treasure it. You’ll get a whole range of feelings from joy to sadness and from love to drama. A storm of beautiful music, turbulent and varied where the notes and instruments dance an eternal romantic waltz and I remain in awe long after the orchestra has left the building.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 55

Album excellence: 63%

Highlights:

Opening And Main Title

Courting

Manderley

Falling In Love

Max Enjoys His Estate

The Seconds Mrs. De Winters Turmoil

Rebeccas Theme

Preparations For The Ball

The Anguish Of Mrs. Danvers

A Night Of High Drama

Manderley Destroyed

Closing Credits

About the author

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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