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Soundtrack Review

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Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Leonard Rosenman
Label: Caldera Records
Release Date: 05 June 2019

Caldera Records present the score for the motion picture Ambition from 1991, directed by Scott Goldstein and featuring music by Leonard Rosenman. Mitchell Osgood is an aspiring writer who stumbles across what he believes is an interesting story. Albert Merrick is a serial killer who is up for parole. Osgood decides to write a story on what motivated Merrick to commit the awful crimes he was sentenced for. This could be Osgood's first real break as a journalist...

When composing the score for Ambition, both composer Leonard Rosenman and director Scott Goldstein felt that the music should have a progressive, rather than conventional harmonic structure. They agreed that this would help to underscore Merrick’s horrific, troubling visions and this approach would help capture his state of mind musically.

Goldstein suggested Rosenman play him some of his concert music as a blueprint for Ambition. Encouraged to be able to draw upon his “progressive” work for the concert stage, Rosenman presented Goldstein with 'Foci', a work for chamber orchestra that the composer had written in 1981 and revised in 1983. Goldstein loved what he heard and commenced to use 'Foci' as temp music for Ambition.

Rosenman's music here is intricate, multi-layered and perfect for the movie. However, on balance it feels like a disconnected collection of music cues rather than a soundtrack album in its own right. This is a score that is perfect for the movie, but feels a little flat when listened to in isolation. There are so many points throughout this album when the music seemed to be building towards something interesting... only to stop way short of delivering what sounded so promising.

I'm pleased that Caldera has managed to acquire the rights to release this as fans of Rosenman's work will relish the opportunity to finally own it. It's an important work, just not something that is engaging enough to warrant listening to too often.


Darren Rea

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