A Walk In The Clouds (Expanded)
Music Composed, Conducted And Produced By Maurice Jarre
Performed By The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra
Album Produced By Nick Redman And Mike Matessino
Executive Producers for LaLaLand Records:
MV Gerhard and Matt Verboys
LaLaLand Records LLLCD1199
Limited Edition of 2000 Copies
26 Tracks – Running Time: 72:09
Rating of 9.0 of 10
A Walk In The Clouds is still one of those rare, underappreciated films that harkens back to a period where Hollywood’s Golden Age was full of dramatic pot boilers and romantic period dramas that have withstood the test of time or have gone into complete obscurity altogether. A Walk In The Clouds was released late in the Summer of 1995, which is usually the dumping ground for end of the summer comedies or action films that wouldn’t stand a chance against blockbusters that summer like Apollo 13, Batman Forever and Braveheart. The film was a modest box-office hit and has garned a solid reputation as a charming romantic drama over the years. The story revolves around a former WWII soldier Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) who has finished his duty and returns home to his ditsy wife (Debra Messing) who quickly urges him to go back to his old job selling chocolates on the road again. On a train to Sacramento he meets, Victoria (Atiana Sanchez-Gijon) whom he has an instant connection to even after revealing that she was pregnant and was a shame to go home to her old fashioned domineering father (Giancarlo Gianini). Victoria’s family takes a liking to Paul especially her gentle grandfather (Anthony Quinn) who teaches Paul a few things about their land “Las Nubes” (The Clouds) a beautiful vineyard that has been in their family for generations. Soon the truth comes out and the once mismatched couple is actually in love, tragedy soon strikes.
Adding to the romance and drama of this simple story, the late Academy Award winner Maurice Jarre, who’s music brought legendary status to Doctor Zhivago was the perfect choice to underscore the drama, the passion, the joy and the tragedy of the film’s story. Jarre was a master composer who really didn’t have anything to prove, but whatever projects he tackled in the 90’s, he did with grace and energy and A Walk In The Clouds is a score that definitely does rank amongst his best.
The score has a beautiful lush orchestrial sound with a touch of Latin flavor to it which Jarre has excelled at in the past as his scores to Moon Over Parador and El Condor would attest to. The music is also grand at times and has a sweep to it is just romantic divinity.
The album starts off with a the very rapturious and romantic “Main Title/Boat Arrival” which introduces us to the score’s main theme which is essentially the love theme for Paul and Victoria, which is reprised in various different orchestrations throughout the score as well as the triumphant arrival of Paul back home as he’s getting off his ship. Victoria’s problems with in the early reels of the film are underscored with gentle and understated scoring in the tracks “Miracle Wish” and “Tinfoil Rings”, Jarre’s musical tone for the scenes aren’t overwhelming or intrusive they just add more power to them. “Butterfly Wings” is another example of this and a major highlight of the score with some some delicate underscoring that slowly builds to a more uplifting feeling as VIctoria shows Paul how to use the wings to defrost the harvest. “The Harvest” is another major highlight and one of Jarre’s flavorable pieces as Victoria’s family is picking the grapes from their vineyard to sound of Jarre’s jubliant and energic latin rhythms. Jarre’s more tragic undertones for the (spoiler alert) the accidental burning of the vineyard in “Angry Alberto/Vineyard Fire/Fire Aftermath” where the orchestra gives it a much harisher as well as a sound of anger and desperation as the family tries to save what’s left of the vineyard. In the aftermath, there seems to be nothing left to save, but Jarre really brings some hope to the proceedings as Paul races to rescue what’s left of Las Nubes in “Viral Vine” as he gives it a triumphant sound as the family discovers that the plant has survived and that their land will be able to harvest again as well as a reprise of Paul and Victoria’s love theme as he puts the tinfoil ring back on her finger signaling their love would be unbounded as the “End Title” rolls with Jarre’s love theme returning trumphantly to close the film.
The expanded album also features more music than the original Milan Records album when the film was released and features the film versions of the “Main Title”, “Tinfoil Rings”, and “Star Wishes” to name a few which are slightly different than their album counterparts, but still great to have. To go along with it, we also have the “Crush the Grapes” which is a piece of source music for group scene as the family is seen crushing the grapes in their yard and the “Mariachi Serenade”, which is a nice piece of music for the scene where Keanu Reeves is singing to Atiana Sanchez-Gijon while she watches from her upstairs room. A nice scene.
A Walk In The Clouds is still one of those pure romantic scores that really does with stand the test of time and especially, now when romantic scores aren’t what the used to be. The closest being Aaron Zigman’s The Notebook, eight years ago. Maurice Jarre’s music is still as wonderous and magical as the film itself and it’s great to see it in a more comprehensive presentation as LaLaLand has given us now. Completely remastered and produced with loving care by both Nick Redman and Mike Matessino, this is the definitive album for one of the more elegant scores of Jarre’s latter half of his career.
A Walk In The Clouds is available to order from LaLaLand Record’s site http://lalalandrecords.com/Walk.html
1. Main Title/Boat Arrival 4:15
2. Ticket Switch/Train Flashback/Catching Bus* 3:00
3. Miracle Wish* 2:14
4. Tinfoil Rings* 1:43
5. Star Wishes 2:02
6. No Bedtime/Teddybear Flashback* 1:44
7. Butterfly Wings 3:01
8. Morning Walk/I’ll Stay* 4:36
9. The Harvest 3:08
10. First Kiss 2:06
11. Wanted Truth/Victoria’s Pain/Let ‘Em Know It* 2:56
12. Honorable Man/Whistling* 1:03
13. Las Nubes Return 1:27
14. Angry Alberto/Vineyard Fire/Fire Aftermath 7:56
15. Viral Vine 2:46
16. End Title 3:09
Total Time: 47:02
ALTERNATES AND SOURCE MUSIC
17. Main Title (film version) 2:16
18. Tinfoil Rings (film version)* 1:41
19. Star Wishes (film version) 2:03
20. Butterfly Wings (film version) 3:03
21. First Kiss (alternate opening)* 0:55
22. “Spring” from “The Four Seasons” (A. Vivaldi)* 4:17
23. Betty’s Slow Fox (source)* 2:25
24. Slow Dance* 3:01
25. Crush the Grapes 2:23
26. Mariachi Serenade 3:01
Total Time: 23:45
Total Album Time: 72:09
– Danny Gonzalez
Film Music Examiner NYC