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Soundtrack Review

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The Conversation
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: David Shire
Label: Silva Screen Records
SILCD1661 (CD), SILED1661 (download)
Release Date: 17 March 2023

Previously released over 20 years ago on CD, David Shire’s captivating soundtrack to The Conversation is reissued by Silva Screen Records in remastered form alongside new artwork and album notes from film music journalist Michael Beek. Quirky, with a harmonic style rooted in Bebop jazz, the soundtrack was surprisingly never issued at the time of the film's release. In the movie, Gene Hackman plays hi-tech wiretapper Harry Caul, a master in his field but away from his job a socially awkward loner. The jazz flavour counteracts perfectly alongside Harry’s lonely sax playing in his apartment, his escape from his insidious occupation...

David Shire's score for The Conversation is as fresh and vibrant as it was when it was released for the movie back in 1974. This release contains 13 tracks (29 min, 56 sec) and I'd argue is more an EP than it is a full-blown LP release. But length is not important when the music is as finely honed as it is here.

I was a little late discovering Shire's work, having fallen in love with his music for Return to Oz (1985), a score that is still one of my favourites. The Conversation is a laid back, strong work which is thematically heavy. There is one main theme that is repeated constantly, some may argue a little too much, but it's one that brings forth a lot of emotion and represents the heart of the film.

This is one of those soundtracks that you know will be on your playlist for years to come. It's big, bold and yet beautifully intricate. Certainly another one I'll be revisiting for years to come.


Darren Rea

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