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Soundtrack Review

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Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Adventure
Original Documentary Score


Composer: Miguel d’Oliveira
Label: MovieScore Media / Kronos Records
Release Date: 17 July 2015

MovieScore Media presents Miguel d’Oliveira score for ITV’s travelogue, Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventure. This 3-part series follows British actress Joanna Lumley (of Absolutely Fabulous fame) on a trip from Hong Kong to Moscow through China, Mongolia and Russia. During her trip, Joanna revisits her childhood home where her father was stationed, then she travels thousands of miles, visits the obligatory tourist sites (such as the Great Wall of China) and also makes a few unusual stops (such as meeting a shaman in Mongolia)...

In the press notes, composer Miguel d’Oliveira explains that he and the director, Michael Waldman, decided to go against the grain and instead of emulating all the musical idiosyncrasies of the vastly different countries and territories Joanna travels through, they would deliver a score that would sound as if you were hearing everything through her. The end result is a score with a very British / Western hemisphere flavour, as opposed to a collection of rough guide tracks.

This, thankfully is a breath of fresh air in the travelogue genre. There's no cliched sounds of each country that we visit, just a collection of interesting themes. In style and delivery it is very similar to Joshua Johnson's score (also released this month - July 2015) for I am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story. In fact the first track on here, 'Once in a Lifetime', was so similar to one of the main themes on I am Big Bird, that I had to check my iPod to make sure I was listening to the correct album.

It's a sweet little album of interesting themes, but if I had one complaint is that it's way to short. I can't believe that a 3-part documentary only has 9 tracks (20 min, 01 sec) worth of music.


Darren Rea

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