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Album Review

As David Shire acknowledges in his liner notes to this album of his piano renderings of music from his film scores, there tends to be a disconnect between a movie composer's filmography and his discography. As of 1992, Shire had been writing for film for two decades, but only a handful of his scores had had full-fledged, well-distributed soundtrack albums: Farewell, My Lovely and Hindenburg in 1975, and Fast Break and The Promise in 1979. (There is a hard to find audiophile LP of 1985's Return to Oz, while the soundtrack album for Old Boyfriends is a collector's item, having been pressed up in promotional copies only, with the commercial release canceled when the film quickly tanked in 1979.) Even though Norma Rae produced an Academy Award-winning song in "It Goes Like It Goes," Shire's score was not represented on disc. In other cases, such as TV movies, it's not surprising that no soundtrack album resulted. Shire makes up the difference, at least to a certain extent, here, by arranging songs and excerpts from a number of his scores for his piano and, usually, one other instrument or a vocal by Maureen McGovern. Some of his scores, notably The Conversation, which consisted entirely of piano music, are well suited to this approach; others, he notes, simply couldn't be represented well with such a stripped-down approach and are not included. (One example is The Taking of Pelham 123.) Some are, perhaps, in between. But at least the basic melodic material is suggested, even if a complete sense of the orchestrations heard in the films is not available. [When, in 2007, Kritzerland came to reissue the album, originally released on Bay Cities in late 1991, Shire's "Sonata for Cocktail Piano" (tracks 15-17) was added as a bonus. This jazzy showpiece was not written for the movies, but it makes a good coda to an album of his composing highlights played on piano.]

Biography

Born: July 3, 1937 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

David Shire is one of the more prolific American composers who has written music for stage, screen, and television. Though he continues to occasionally compose for films, he was most prolific during the '70s and early '80s. In 1979...
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