Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Altered States (1980 Film)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks
Stunning and scary!
Hugh Effow | North of 45 | 04/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I hope that John Corigliano's recent success with The Red Violin will reanimate interest in this amazing work. Although I have some reserves about the movie, I think that the CD is superb! It does take a few listens though before the brain can make sense of this."
A monumental achievement in film music
McGuildicuff | Orange County | 01/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What separates John Corigliano from many of his contemporaries on the classical circuit is that, even in moments of the most frightening chaos or the most potent dread, he maintains taut and tangible melodies that engross rather than disorient his audience. His big-orchestra work sounds less like Bartok composing on pot and more like Prokofiev composing on crack -- every bit as beautiful and human as it is muscular and savage. And yet, the muscle and savagery make his music more uniquely enthralling than any of the John Williams wannabes that flooded the film industry in the 1980s.
His score to Altered States is a little different. I chose to edit this review because I realized, long after my initial rapture with the album and extreme naivete about modern music, that it's not all dreamy, Romantic, comic-book dread. One listener who read me making that case marked it unhelpful, and I had to agree.
It's common for a composer to sprinkle dissonance into a horror score for added delirious effect, as Corigliano does noisily enough at the end of "Main Title and First Hallucination." Once you're at "First Transformation," though, the dissonance is lathered on pretty thick. People have compared this score, often favorably, to Penderecki, Xenakis, and other modern composers who counteract Corigliano's musical discipline -- sometimes for earnest, tragic reasons, and other times just to spite the rest of us. Yet, the edge the screeches, scrapes, and skitters on this album might have over your average "ear Drano" piece is how ALIVE they feel. The enthusiasm and satisfying structure of the more experimental tracks evoke a slightly more agitated Rite of Spring, which fits the film's primeval subject matter and aesthetic like a glove.
Though the actual film score runs a bit longer and sounds pretty brash throughout, Corigliano and the album producers did us the favor of assembling the best bits into a more listenable and more rhythmic album. There are a few stops for relief, such as the mildly schmaltzy but quite necessary "Love Theme," while some of the best cues seem to be restored to the original recordings. "Second Hallucination" is that much more satisfying with the wistful, waltz-timed comedown at the end, and "Primeval Landscape," the larger part of which was shoved into a silly scene with the security guards, shimmers with seductive, brooding presence on its own terms. For what it's worth, I consider that two minutes and 17 seconds some of the most gorgeous music I've heard in my life.
Regardless of your feelings about the music from Altered States or any exasperation you may endure by the album's close, any work this ambitious, inventive, and gleefully grotesque demands a full five stars. It's a good thing Amazon's samples are back, because as little of the music as they provide, hearing it truly is believing. Highly recommended."