Patrick Williams - Jesus: The Epic Mini-Series

Tuesday 1st August 2000
Patrick Williams - Jesus: The Epic Mini-Series
Patrick Williams - Jesus: The Epic Mini-Series

RATING 5 5 5 5 5
LABEL: Sparrow 8517092

Reviewed by Graham Jovanovic

Composer and conductor Patrick Williams boasts an impressive CV, with an Oscar nomination and three Emmy awards to his credit, and is enlisted here to dramatize a four-hour, $26 million dollar production of the Gospel story which only made it to UK TV screens via Sky. Using orchestral backing consisting primarily of strings, brass and percussion there is a deliberate attempt to bring simplistic interpretations and to steer clear of grandiose pretensions. There are suitably poignant moments from a wondrous "Walking On Water" to a sinister "Satan" to a hopeful, calming "Jesus Has Risen" handled with great assurance, whilst frequently a lone trumpet captures the nobility of Jesus' lonely mission to earth to stirring effect. However, it is the inclusion of Andrew Lloyd Webber's beautifully haunting requiem "Pie Jesu" that is particularly evocative and the rest of the score, whilst competent, never quite matches this level of depth or emotion. Ironically, particularly considering the subject matter, it is this passion that is strangely lacking and never takes the score into the memorability of scores penned by Enio Morricone or even John Williams. Although in agreement with director Richard Young to steer clear of cliched organ and choir bombast of past Biblical epics, this is a body of work that is not particularly striking.

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