Alan Silvestri


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This reviewer was pleasantly surprised by this CD which, on its face, might seem a premature survey of a film composer who was only 45 years old at the time of its release. Quite the contrary, it might be a revelation to hear just how much very good -- and occasionally excellent -- film music Silvestri has written. It dawned on this reviewer while listening to the suite from Forrest Gump that Silvestri's big problem, shared by most other film composers of his era, is that the movies the write scores for are so busy, in terms of trying to hold the visual interests of short-attention-span audiences, that they seldom have the opportunities that men such as Steiner, Herrmann, Rozsa, and Newman did, to underscore finely delineated dramatic moments -- Silvestri gets that chance in Forrest Gump (with a melody that seems to owe a little bit to Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides, Now"), and he does, indeed, run with it. And it is for moments like that -- and this CD has several of them -- that this collection is worth owning, and should be played often. A good deal of what is here is more playful, as one would expect from a list of movies that includes Death Becomes Her, the 1990s remake of Father of the Bride, and Romancing the Stone (the movie that jump-started Silvestri's big-screen career), but he always manages to bring some considerable sophistication to his work and, indeed, one can now perceive the latter as an important attribute for his producers and directors as well. He even does a pretty good job of melding the best attributes of John Williams and Jerome Moross in Back to the Future, Pt. 3. The composer is the conductor on some of this material, but Joel McNeely is also represented leading the orchestra, as is John Scott. What makes this collection even better is that it happens to be great fun and great listening on its own terms, as well as being a superb overview of the first phase of Silvestri's movie career.

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