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Gosford Park [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] ()

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Screen composer Patrick Doyle has a resumé full of adaptations of classic British literature (Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Sense and Sensibility, Great Expectations), which made him a good choice for Gosford Park, director Robert Altman's murder mystery set at an English estate in 1932. Typical for Altman, who has used music, especially songs, prominently in many of his films (think of M.A.S.H.'s "Suicide Is Painless" and the song score to Nashville), Gosford Park already has a built-in musical element: One of the characters is the real historical figure Ivor Novello (1893-1951; played and sung by Jeremy Northam), a songwriter second only to Noël Coward among the major British theater composers of the first half of the 20th century (though much less well-known in the U.S.). Six of Novello's sophisticated, witty songs form the core of the film's music, and Doyle has constructed a score to complement them and, of course, to suit the ins and outs of the Upstairs/Downstairs crossed with Agatha Christie plot. The soundtrack album contains 16 of his cues, most of them short pieces that state a mood using only a piano or a few pieces and then end without developing further. They are in a variety of styles, from jazz to classical, but maintain a discreet background tone. There are also a couple more songs in the Novello style co-written by Altman and sung by Abigail Doyle. It makes for a pleasant listen in which the Novello songs, particularly the comic "And Her Mother Came Too" (a favorite of cabaret singer Bobby Short), stand out. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi Hide synopsis

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