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Cliff Eidelman's 'Symphony for Orchestra and Two Pianos' makes Film Music Magazine's 'February Soundtrack Picks'

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Cliff Eidelman, has always impressed with a gift for rapturous melody, from the epic ("Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country," "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery") to conveying the heartfelt bonds of girl power ("Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," Now and Then") and the magic of believing in the impossible ("Leap of Faith," "Big Miracle"). Having been sure to release a succession of concept albums like "My Muse" and "Wedding in the Night Garden" along with his film work, Eidelman now delivers two impressive concert pieces on a singular album that begins with "Symphony for the Orchestra and Two Pianos." Eidelman sets a lyrical stage, whose rhythmic idea continues to build to a majestic conclusion, his opening cadenza having a subtle Hebraic rhythm that recalls his astonishing first major score for the Holocaust-set "Triumph of the Spirit." The second movement beautifully starts as a piano nocturne that's joined by strings, their dance growing with an impassioned orchestra for its third movement. While this "Symphony" certainly has a classical pedigree to be reckoned with, fans of Eidelman's scores, especially his more fantastical ones, will particularly enjoy the chillingly playful theme of "Night in the Gallery." Inspired by Eidelman's quick dash through the Louvre Museum in a way that could reflect the characters of barely-seen paintings coming to life and narrating a story, those stepping unknowingly into this "Gallery" might think they're getting a sophisticated reading of various "Goosebumps" tales. While the music certainly conveys whimsically disparate works of art, his "Gallery" also the atmosphere of a sweet haunted house, opening with syncopated rhythm a la Philip Glass before having the pianos conjure a wistful sense of spookiness. Brass instruments achieve a similar loopiness in their jazzy inflections, winds chirp like gently alarmed parakeets, and storm clouds of gothic Guignol arrive alongside pounding brass. Consider it an exceptionally gentle "Night on Bald Mountain" as Eidelman passes by masterpieces in a way that a tyke takes in the wonders of Halloween. But whether sophisticated or wonderfully whispering an unintended "boo," the performance by the London Symphony orchestra and pianists Michael McHale and Tom Poster are excellent, giving Eidelman's concert stage works the quality of any big screen soundtrack.

READ ALL OF Film Music Magazine's 'February Soundtrack Picks'