"Private Dancer" /
Music By Brian Ralston
"Negotiating Identities" Grade: B-
"Private Dancer" Grade: C
Overall Grade: C+
"Private Dancer" is a very unique and rather interesting play of sorts based on the life of actress Rita Hayworth that was written and performed by actress Sage Snakechalmer as a personal tribute to the late sex symbol. She literally threw herself into the role using a method actress approach to the drama which give it intrigue and passion for what she was trying to do. What makes the play unique is also the film within a film aspect entitled "Negotiating Identities" which definitely adds to the curiosity factor.
Tasked with writing two scores essentially was composer Brian Ralston, who had written a rather engaging and memorable score for the sports drama, "Crooked Arrows" prior to this. Ralston really understood what Snakechalmer was attempting to do with her play and in writing the two scores for "Private Dancer" and "Negotiating Identities", he really wrote something that stood out eventhough the play in the end, did not.
"Negotiating Identities" is easily the strongest of the two scores which features the full power of the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra. This eighteen minute suite of music plays out like a noir film score of the 1940's and 50's that is full of memorable thematic material that could easily fit any current film score as well. Ralston really got this right featuring a classic "Overture", a suspense filled "Main Title/Rita's Identity Machine", a classic darkly hued "Rita's Waltz", and a rather uplifting finale in "Discovery" all that perfectly highlight the first half of his very solid album that ends with a lengthy reprise of the themes from the suite in "Negotiating Identities (End Title)" that perfectly ends it.
The "Private Dancer" suite follows the solid first half that is performed by Chris Burton Jacome and it is a very interesting contrast to the symphonic power of "Negotating Identities". Utilizing a Spanish flavored flamenco guitar driven approach, Jacome plays the heck out of suite given to him with "Madre", "Actriz", "Esposa" and "Quien Soy" while giving a more rock oriented approach to "Dance Of The Seven Veils" which works very well and is very unique.
Perseverance's album is very interesting and unique much like the label is and it mostly is a showcase for Brian Ralston's talents which is a great thing because he's really becoming a composer to watch out for and if "Negotiating Identities" was a full blooded score for a major film, we'd be talking about a breakout score and one day, we probably will see that. This album will definitely be the inspiration for it without a doubt and for the time being, you can enjoy it on its' own merits. The score for the play itself, is a hit or miss affair to be honest which is largely, and rightfully is overshadowed by "Negotiating Identities". Fans of Ottmar Libert will enjoy it while others will enjoy it as filler. As a whole, it is a very intriguing album that truly displays the talents of its' composer who really has a solid career ahead. A positive experience and (mainly) because of "Negotiating Identities". Marginal but positive thumbs up.