Michel Cusson

Séraphin: Un Homme et Son Péché

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Once an impressive jazz-rock guitarist with the group Uzeb, Michel Cusson has been recycled since the mid-'90s in TV and film scores. His motion picture soundtrack for Charles Binamé's Séraphin: Un Homme et Son Péché (based on a classic Quebecer novel by Claude-Henri Grignon) is as middle-of-the-road as it gets. Cusson produced a textbook soundtrack, but forgot to put in a personal touch. Each of the three main characters has a signature theme and instrumentation: the old, ugly, and tortured husband gets a somber string quartet and Viole d'Amour; the young, naïve, and romantic wife a chamber orchestra; the free-thinking lover accordion and acoustic guitar. The 20 short tracks of illustrative music combine these three themes, arranging them in all sorts of ways but never breaking out of them. The wife's theme becomes the leitmotiv, appearing in half of the tracks and soon becoming redundant. "Le Duel" and "Le Feu de l'Enfer" are so similar you'd think your CD player skipped. Isabelle Boulay sings "Depuis le Premier Jour," the album's only song (based on what theme, you think?). A typical adult contemporary radio hit, it is well-interpreted and represents the main reason why the album sold considerably well in Quebec for a soundtrack. But in the end, Séraphin: Un Homme et Son Péché is a lifeless, sweeter-than-sweet platter of incidental music.

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