Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 November 19 • Monday

The 244th Soundtrack of the Week is Maurice Jarre's music for Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz.

This is not a good movie, in my opinion. Most, maybe all late Hitchcock is disappointing for one reason or another.

Jarre's score is great, though, especially the wistful and lilting "Main Title", which comes after the "Russian March" that accompanies the opening credits. (The CD contains a second version of this march also.)

"French Embassy" begins with a driving jazz rhythm led by the bass and eventually returns to that main title theme.

"Farewell to Anita" begins with the wistfulness of that theme before moving into a suspenseful, almost creepy atmosphere that ultimately resolves to a recaptulation of the main theme.

Some exotic rhythms and percussion dominate, unsurprisingly, "Welcome to Cuba".

"Suspicion" is an interesting cue, using double bass and percussion to create a toe-tapping but tense mood. An electric instrument, maybe an odnes Martenot, takes the lead in the beginning, and then very sharp-sounding plucked instrument returns with the theme. Timpani also touch on the theme briefly before the bass picks up the tempo and leads the group into more swinging territory.

"The Hidden Microfilm" is more traditional underscore for orchestra before a segue into an Eastern European, almost polka-like take on the main theme.