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The Company - Review
Music from the Movies- 5/ 21/ 2004
Director John Altman managed to obtain the complete cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago for the production of The Company. The film centres on Neve Campbell who is about to make it as a principal dancer in a fictitious ballet company that has Malcolm McDowell as the ballet’s artistic director. The soundtrack is a little surprising and refreshing. It is not packed out with classical ballet music, but is instead a subtle and pleasing collection of beautiful music, much of it with dance connotations. The score is written by Van Dyke Parks, whose scores have included The Adventures of Ociee Nash and Howard Stern's Private Parts as well as the music for the ‘Stuart Little’ television series. However, only two of the cues on the soundtrack album are credited to Van Dyke Parks. Another oddity is the repeated use of Richard Rodgers’ and Lorentz Hart’s song ‘My Funny Valentine’. The song appears to be a subsidiary theme tune for the film and appears in no less than four very different versions on the soundtrack album.

The opening cue is a particularly smooth and smoochy version of ‘My Funny Valentine’ by Elvis Costello, which is followed by a virtuoso performance of J.S. Bach’s delicate and captivating ‘Menuett’ from the ‘Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major’ by Yo-Yo Ma. The third, haunting track, ‘The World Spins’ was written by Angelo Badalamenti with lyrics by David Lynch for Twin Peaks and is performed by Julee Cruise. The cue has a hint of the famous Twin Peaks bass guitar theme, along with the gentle, lingering ethereal vocal. ‘Rabekin’, written by Russ Gauthier and performed Light Rain, has an Arabian flavour with a simple repetitive tune played on a mandolin-style instrument. Yo-Yo Ma returns with his solo cello for Mark O’Conner’s mystical ‘Appalachia Waltz’. Two more very different versions of ‘My Funny Valentine’ follow. The first from Chet Baker is a slow jazz vocal with the singer oozing sensuality. The second version is a classical approach with Marvin Lard on the piano supporting Clay Ruede on the cello creating a deep and passionate rendition.

‘Ray One From Creative Force’ is a change of mood and tempo; it’s upbeat, with a samba style beat and is real fun. ‘Curtain Calls’ is written by the score composer Van Dyke Parks, and is a wonderful, dreamy jazz piano and saxophone cue, but cleverly and everso subtly, half started musical references to ‘My Funny Valentine’ are woven through this beautiful cue. The last and most complex version of ‘My Funny Valentine’ by the Kronos Quartet has a more serious almost severe feel, but is probably the most inventive and attractive of the four arrangements. The effervescent archetypical French music of Camile Saint-Saens’ ‘Pas Redoublie’, which is almost a Can-Can in style, draws the soundtrack to an explosive conclusion. However a bonus track by Van Dyke Parks, ‘Blue Snake & Zebras’, is tacked on the end. A mysterious cue with musical effects giving sounds of birds and animals, but in a relaxing cohesive orchestral setting.

The Company’s soundtrack album is a well-balanced collection of cues with a classical leaning. It is obviously preferable that any listener has no aversion to ‘My Funny Valentine’ although the four main versions are so different that they do not feel repetitive. Recommended for those that like subtle, laid-back soundtracks with an ethereal feel.
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