Stephen Sondheim

Stavisky [Original Score]

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Stephen Sondheim is known as a songwriter for the musical theater, not a composer of film scores, and this is, in fact, his first. Writing music for Alain Resnais' tale of a 1930s gangster played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, Sondheim naturally enough begins with a jazzy, minor-key theme carried by the woodwinds, which leads him into a largely playful if understated set of cues that sometimes ("Auto Show," "Operetta") have more of a Gilded Age, turn of the century feel instead of a ‘30s setting. "Secret of Night" and "Airport at Biarritz" take the tempo up and suggest action or chase sequences, as the strings become highly rhythmic, with pizzicato sections. But for the most part, this is light, entertaining fare, the better to suggest that Stavisky is a film more devoted to style than gangland grit.

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