Munrow, and Legrand

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The following comes the Coyotebanjo blogspot......Munrow/Legrand: The Three Musketeers,July 2007.


Between them, Legrand and Munrow present a textbook example of the expressive and narrative capacities of film music, drawing on both old-school Hollywood and new-school historical performance in service of telling the story.

The LP is long out of print and has not (I don't believe) ever been released on CD, but it can be heard on the excellent DVD reissue of the two films, and Legrand has released a short orchestral suite based on just a few of the key themes:

The magnificent, pounding minor-key fanfare for low winds and strings and which serves as underscore for the opening credits, a wonderful back-lit sequence catching swordsmen (later revealed to be DArtagnan and his father, sparring) in slow-motion silhouette as they thrust, parry, and riposte, and which beautifully prefigures the life-and-death staggering, brutal fatalism of the decades-long combat in 1977's The Duellists;

The beautiful recurrent 2/4 allegro theme for high winds, celeste, and strings, which simultaneously tropes all those heroic sequences in earlier Hollywood films, but also whose rhythms and modal inflections manage to evoke both the pounding of horses feet and the drone-based folk-music textures of the French rigaudon;

The great call-and-response theme, for high winds versus running strings, and underscored by kettledrums, that accompanied battle scenes, with a lyric secondary theme;

Equally wonderful, though lacking from the suite, and sadly and criminally uncredited on the original film, are the wonderful, grainy, funky cues and other bits of miscellaneous entra acte music which David Munrows wind players supplied: to scenes of markets, nuns hanging laundry, dyers coloring cloth (and serving as unwilling witnesses to a great, slapstick combat between Musketeers and Cardinals Guards, most of whom wind up doused in indigo or red before the end), and all the other scenes that served not just to advance the story, but rather to convey the feel, the sound, and even the smell of 17th century France. Munrow knew what the period sounded like, and he made me know too: in hindsight, this might be the earliest extensive listening to historical instruments Id ever encountered....................



Three Musketeers 1974.jpg

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