Marc Shaiman

Mother [Original Score]

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On paper it seems Marc Shaiman's saccharine sensibilities would clash violently with the acridly neurotic comedy of writer/director Albert Brooks, but for Mother the two sides discover a happy medium. While Brooks turns in his gentlest, most heartfelt film to date, Shaiman responds with a brisk, charming score that deftly captures the bittersweet emotion at the heart of the onscreen narrative. Writing for piano and orchestra, Shaiman creates a series of cheerfully quirky themes that nicely complement Brooks' subtle comedic palette. The music is so unassuming that it works far better on film than on record, which may be why Hollywood Records' 1996 soundtrack release appends a handful of overly-familiar pop hits including the Beach Boys' "In My Room" and Wilson Pickett's "Land of a Thousand Dances."

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