Under the Tuscan sun

Score soundtrack released by Varese Sarabande, 302 066 513 2 on 2003.09.30
Shown at the Sundance Film Festival

Film not yet viewed by Bluntinstrument, so comment cannot be made on the effectiveness of the score in its home medium


Thom Fitzgerald's Sundance Film Festival pleaser about an investigation into the suspicious suicide of AIDS victim Matt Shapiro (Don McKellar) is the second film in which his composer is Chris Beck. Wolf Girl (aka. Blood Moon) had been released two years previous, and again Beck's score is worked round other music - in the earlier film it was curious freak show songs, and in this it is a mix of pop songs. In both cases there appears to be good reason (although bluntinstrument has yet to see The Event and is working on reviews and description only), but equally CB has risen to the challenge of 'filling the gaps' with strikingly atmospheric music. In the woeful three tracks on the commercial album we are treated to drastic contrast, from the short and cheap, ever-building camp(?) outrageous 'F**k you very much' (track 4) to the genuinely moving 'Mother' (track 9), which certainly tops his music for the final minutes of Buffy's 5th season ('The gift' 5.22) by building rich yet muted sound over endless melodic phrasing. Even with the effectiveness of strings here, Beck is careful to weave his magic with customary piano. Then with 'I promise you' (track 16) delivering a cello-led elegy (piano and strings take subordinate roles) that explores the instrument's natural soulful tone colour, sounding warm with other strings but somehow empty when unaccompanied. 7'59" of score is not generally worth the price of a CD, but in this case the songs included are an interesting and intelligent collection which may appeal for their emotional range.


Track listing

01. Spirit in the sky (Norman Greenbaum)
02. Star (piano version) (Randy Coleman and Nick Sample)
03. I fell in love with a dead boy (Antony and the Johnsons)
  04. F**k you very much (Christopher Beck, 1'19") [clip: excerpt of 281Kb]
05. And when I die (Shyne Factory)
06. Heaven to me (Rick Kurek)
07. My funny valentine (Chet Baker)
08. Goodbye (Nick Nolan)
  09. Mother (Christophe Beck, 4'12") [clip: excerpt of 662Kb]
10. Down to heaven (Jeremiah Sparks)
11. What was I waiting for (Ian Janes)
12. Bottom dollar baby (Nathan Wiley)
13. Bring me down (Shyne Factory)
14. Sunny days (Lighthouse)
15. Your next bold move (Ani DiFranco)
  16. Final goodbye (Christophe Beck, 2'28")
17. I promise you (Judith Owen)

Total Beck track timing: 7'59"
Total disc timing: 67'59"

Christophe Beck's music is performed by the composer and published by Joseph Bongwater Publishing (SESAC)

Songs on disc
"Spirit in the sky"
Written and performed by Norman Greenbaum
Courtesy of Great Honesty Music and Varese Sarabande Records Inc.
Star (piano version)
Written by Randy Coleman, C. Rivera, K Shepard and Nick Sample
Performed by Randy Coleman and Nick Sample
Courtesy of Four Hermanos Music, www.randycoleman.net
"I fell in love with a dead boy"
Written by Antony
Performed by Antony and the Johnsons
Courtesy of of Rebis Music, www.antonyandthejohnsons.com
"And when I die"
Written by L. Nyro
Performed by Shyne Factory
Courtesy of EMI Blackwood Music Inc. (Emoticon Pictures Inc.), www.shynefactory.com
"Heaven to me"
Written and performed by Rick Kurek, www.rickkurek.com
Courtesy of Day Eleven Records, 1-866-DAY-ELEVEN
"My funny valentine"
Written by R. Rodgers, L. Hart)
Performed by Chet Baker
Courtesy of Warner / Chappell Music Ltd.; EMI Music Inc.
Written and performed by Nick Nolan
Copyright to Nolantunes Music, 2002
"Down to heaven"
Written by J. Henman, D. Harwood-Jones, K. Pluta, from Death the Musical
Performed by Jeremiah Sparks with Lisa MacDougall and The Nova Scotia Mass Choir
Copyright DeadEnt Music Inc., 2000, www.DeathTheMusical.com
"What I was waiting for"
Written and performed by Ian Janes, www.ianjanes.com
"Bottom dollar baby"
Written and performed by Nathan Wiley
Courtesy of Sonic Records, www.nathanwiley.com
"Bring me down"
Written by M. Johnson, M. Johnsons, S. Scott
Performed by Shyne Factory
Courtesy of Red Liquorice, www.shynefactory.com
"Sunny days"
Written by S. Prokop
Performed by Lighthouse
Courtesy of Hoffert Music Publishing and Productions
"Your next bold move"
Written and performed by Ani DiFranco
Copyright to Righteous Babe Music, 2001
Courtesy of Righteous Babes Records, Inc.
"I promise you"
Written by J. Owen, C. Magness
Performed by Judith Owen
Courtesy of Dog on the Bed Music and EMI Music Publishing,
and Century of Progress Prod. Inc. www.judithowen.net