Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Regular U.S. release, but out of print.
Buy it... before any other Mark McKenzie album if you seek not only
his career score but also an outstanding comedy that conveys its parody
elements in surprisingly intelligent fashion.
Avoid it... if you expect the entire score to exude the same
melodramatic beauty as the famous overture piece.
Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde
: (Mark McKenzie) This
really isn't what Robert Louis Stevenson had in mind when he wrote "The
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" so long ago, but if you look at
as a perfect vehicle for actress Sean Young's reportedly neurotic
personality, then there is perhaps some redemption in the idea.
Otherwise, there really was no excuse for Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde
to exist (unless, perhaps, it had been made strictly in the realm of
hardcore pornography); some films are so awful that they don't even
merit a glimpse on cable television while suffering from insomnia in the
middle of the night. In this case, Tim Daly is the scientist and Sean
Young is his alter ego who spends the film proving to the world, as she
has done most of her adult life, that she would have made a splendid
Catwoman. A shoddy script that isn't funny doesn't help, though. And
yet, who could have predicted that this silly comedy from 1995 would
prove to be one of orchestrator-turned-composer Mark McKenzie's crowning
achievements? If you ever happen to watch the film (by mistake or
otherwise), it's almost shocking to hear such a great orchestral score
in such a flimsy and ridiculous context. To that end, it's possibly one
of those cases when a film is better known because of its score than on
its own merits. McKenzie's themes for Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde
were first discovered by many in the general public when they were used
two years in a row at the Academy Awards; the grand "Overture"
accompanied the obituary tribute in 1997 and the organ version of the
main theme in "Old Movie Music" was used the following year. McKenzie,
upon hearing his score in person at the first ceremony, was said to be
quite understandably joyous. And rightfully so. McKenzie, of course, is
well known for his use of strong melodies in his scores. But none of his
themes of the 1990's or 2000's is as well known or loved by fans as
those from Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde
. The "Overture" alone is work
of magic, encompassing themes that are later manipulated masterfully as
the bizarre Jekyll and Hyde transformations begin to take place. Three
major themes exist in this score, and while the title theme gets the
most publicity, the other two are equally interesting, even if their
repetition and development is less than desired.
The title theme, which makes itself heard on violin,
horns, and full ensemble late in "Overture," is adapted in such violent
and funny ways in Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde
that the composer could
very well use it as a sampler of his talents in various genres of music,
from the hoedown format in "Charades" to the militaristic march in
"Taking Back My Chromosomes." The second theme is the romantic one that
occupies the first half of "Overture" and is heard on woodwind at the
start of "Charades." Its application in the score is sadly lacking, for
it's among the most compelling ideas of McKenzie's career. The third
theme is the one of mystery that accompanies the potion. Its extensive
use in "Great Grandfather's Books," with a slight electronic tingling
effect, leads to fragmented reprises throughout the score when McKenzie
warns of an impending transformation. Of the notable singular moments,
the "Old Movie Music" cue features an organ performance by McKenzie
himself that stirs up an enormous ruckus in the spirit of the music he
was precisely attempting to imitate and poke a bit of fun at. The
insertion of a piece from the Opera "Carmen" in "Footsy" helps keep the
score alive with energy. The playfulness of the upbeat "mad scientist"
rhythms is reminiscent of Danny Elfman's early exuberance. And, of
course, who could forget the massive opening statement of the title
theme in "Something Electrical?" This 25-second recording is destined to
be used someday as a studio's logo music. The performances during the
sequences of heightened volume are masterfully mixed. Unable to afford a
sizable orchestra to produce such a grand effect within the string
section, McKenzie double and sometimes triple layered its performances
to provide the sound of a much fuller ensemble. Utilizing this technique
throughout the score, McKenzie is able to provide the sense of robust
sound that propels the comedy aspect of the film. The title theme is not
again performed with the same intensity it received in the "Overture,"
however, but "Final Transformation" comes close. On the whole, it's
amazing to recall that this album was, at one time in the late 1990's,
selling for under one dollar at the label's (Intrada Records) web site.
For whatever price, it's the best achievement of McKenzie's career and
is about as strong as silly comedy music can get. Start your McKenzie
collection with this unlikely winner and do your best to avoid focusing
too closely on the packaging's artwork. **** @Amazon.com: CD or
For Mark McKenzie reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.78
(in 9 reviews)|
and the average viewer rating is 3.36
(in 3,644 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.
Total Time: 40:13
1. Overture (6:08)|
2. Old Movie Music (2:20)
3. Off to Work (2:20)
4. Great Grandfather's Books (2:37)
5. Something Electrical (2:18)
6. A Little Surprise (1:47)
7. Breakfast Transformation (2:35)
8. Charades (2:20)
9. Irresistible Helen (1:41)|
10. Helen Deflates (2:02)
11. The Unstable Gene (2:12)
12. Taking Back my Chromosomes (1:57)
13. Narrow Escapes (2:19)
14. Footsy* (1:55)
15. Final Transformation (2:46)
16. Acid Love Potion (2:45)
* contains excerpt from the opera "Carmen"
The insert contains notes written by both the director and composer. The following
is an excerpt from the note by Mark McKenzie:
"Since David Price and I started our careers together with the horror film
Son of Darkness: To Die For II it was a particularly great pleasure for
me to work with David again and compose the score to Dr. Jekyll and Ms.
Hyde. I especially appreciated David's tremendous, comedic sensibilities,
and his ceaseless championing of music. In this score one of our goals was to
give Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde a sense of fun no matter how devious Dr.
Jekyll's dark feminine side (Helen) becomes.
Because Dr. Jekyll goes through many transformations and finds himself in many
different situations, this film needed a fun main theme that could be
manipulated in a wide variety of ways. The "Overture" for example has four
variations of the main "Dr. Jekyll / Helen" theme. This theme is first heard at
about 2:20 minutes into the track played by a solo violin. Immediately after
that, the theme is heard in a bold horn statement, followed by a romantic
orchestral statement, and again followed by a lush string statement. Throughout
the film you will hear this theme twisted and manipulated in a variety of ways.
Enough with the technical talk, I hope you have fun with, and enjoy the score
nearly as much as I enjoyed composing it."