By Karol Krok
Title: Still Alice
Composer: Ilan Eshkeri
The Film: Alice is a linguistic professor who is diagnosed with the early onset Alzheimer disease and struggles with her personal life. The film is praised for its sensitivity and central performance from ever-reliable Julianne Moore.
The Score: Ilan Eshkeri was a former collaborator and assistant to legendary composer Michael Kamen and later became an established voice of his own (known mostly for Stardust). Still Alice presents him with a challenge of composing a score for very small ensemble consisting of violin, viola, cello and piano. With those seemingly limited palette, he paints a portrait of Alice and her struggle.
Distinguishing Features: The score consists of several miniatures – many of those run shorter than 1 minute. There is a little main theme to tie it all together which is introduced in the opening track (’L.A. Drive’) and it gets some lovely variations in ’Running’ and ’Beach’. ’Lost Phone’ brings some disquiet into the otherwise pleasant, if somewhat melancholic, athmosphere. The album also features ’If I Had a Boat’ song by Karen Elson (a cover of Lyle Lovett’s original).
Final Thoughts: Still Alice is a pleasant and relaxing background music. It is unlikely to be among year’s most memorable scores but this brief 20-minute album serves as a nice deviation from the typical onslaught of massive symphonic orchestras. Good for soul.
Still Alice is out now from Nettwerk (digital download only)