Beloved: (Rachel Portman) For anybody familiar with the Toni Morrison novel of the same name, the film adaptation by heralded director Jonathan Demme will be a viewing experience very true the book. It's a convoluted ghost tale from the times of American slavery, during which the story tells of not only the atrocities of the whites of the era, but of the difficult and brutal ...(展开全部) Beloved: (Rachel Portman) For anybody familiar with the Toni Morrison novel of the same name, the film adaptation by heralded director Jonathan Demme will be a viewing experience very true the book. It's a convoluted ghost tale from the times of American slavery, during which the story tells of not only the atrocities of the whites of the era, but of the difficult and brutal choices made by the black slaves as well. Morrison's story almost needs a map to get through, but essentially involves a pair of older, former slaves facing their previous lives in the form of a ghostly girl who walks into their lives and household one day. Nearly everything in the story is deeply unsettling, and Morrison's method of traveling between different times at will is faithfully preserved in the film adaptation. Demme's film was highly praised at the time of its release, and actress Oprah Winfrey, who was a major force behind getting the film made, manages to shed her talk-show persona and adequately stand alongside Danny Glover as a lead. A significant number of truly revolting and horrific scenes caused the film to skirt mainstream acceptance, and while it was forecasted to do well during the awards season, it was ultimately shunned. One of the more intriguing aspects of the film was its significantly lengthy musical score, composed by the very unlikely Rachel Portman. Known mostly for her lush romance and comedy scores at the time (the genre in which she had won her Academy Award a few years earlier), Portman was suddenly tasked with coming up with an authentic sound for a genre and culture best defined in the late 1990's by John Williams, whose scores for both Rosewood and Amistad were considered the benchmark of success. While those scores would offer some slight influences in Portman's finished work for Beloved, her avenue towards representing the culture of the time would be largely unique. She maintained at the time that the Beloved score was her personal favorite of her career. From a technical standpoint, there's good reason for Portman to be proud of Beloved. In terms of her career, the score was an extreme and challenging deviation from her usual sound. Using only a small handful of instrumental performers and an African choir (along with a few solo voices), it would be generous to call her score "sparse." The only orchestral elements that her listeners will recognize will be just a couple of woodwinds, instruments only recognizable from her palette because their stark solos often feature Portman's normal chord progressions. Other than those occasional progression references, absolutely nothing in Beloved will remind you of her previous works. Instrumentally, a single plucked guitar (or perhaps another string-based instrument) periodically provides a delicate backdrop to the vocals. The woodwinds and a couple of traditional string instruments (sounding mostly like a viola and clarinet, but that's just a guess) provide bleak dissonance during several disturbing passages, often with no interference. An authentic percussion section with a distinctly tribal sound (drums and sticks) is featured in slight solo performances at times. The vocals are the selling point of the score, often layered between adult female solos and an African children's choir. While few of these solos stand out from one another, Miriam Stockley's voice (as heard prominently in the "Beloved" cue near the outset) easily prevails. Thematically, Portman does develop a primary theme and a few subsequent variations. The statements of these themes are typically so slow in pacing that it's sometimes difficult to pinpoint them. The overarching sadness of the score is what ultimately defines Beloved. Portman handles the seriousness of the subject by exercising restraint, and while this approach may be fundamentally successful, Beloved never has the same emotional appeal as John Williams' entries into the genre. Portman is so consistently morbid in her score that, at 60 minutes of consistent dread, the album becomes depressingly irritating. Only in "Denver Goes Out Yonder" does Portman pick up the pace with a heightened sense of emotion that has basic similarities to Danny Elfman's Sommersby when the flute joins the cue at 1:00. Overall, Beloved is so understated and drab that it's an impossible listening experience, no matter how much you may respect it.