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Angela's Ashes
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Solos Performed by:
Randy Kerber
Steve Erdody
John Ellis
JoAnn Tuovsky
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Sony Classical
(December 7th, 1999)
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All versions are regular commercial releases. The Sony printing in America contains narration from the film, whereas the Decca printing in Europe and elsewhere does not.
Nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are moved by all of John Williams' scores of immense weight for historical dramas, despite the potentially cold atmosphere necessitated by Angela's Ashes' grim, unglorified story.

Avoid it... if you seek vibrant instrumental solos or distinctive vocals in your dramatic Williams scores of the 1990's, or if you're potentially bothered by the fact that the composer's theme is highly derivative of others in his career.
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WRITTEN 12/17/99, REVISED 4/24/08
Angela's Ashes: (John Williams) While popular on paper, few could argue that Angela's Ashes is a pleasant viewing experience. Frank McCourt's memoirs of a poverty and hunger-stricken childhood in 1930's Ireland are powerful in their examination of survival and the human soul, though despite the author's good natured perspective, there's frightfully little light at the end of the tunnel that doesn't involve a dream of returning to America (from which his family was one of few to leave the new land and return to Europe). Director, screenwriter, and producer Alan Parker's film adaptation of the book does virtually nothing to gloss over the dirty atmosphere that plagued McCourt's family. A streaming narration from his perspective accompanies grim shades of gray at every turn, with rain, mud, and every visual representation of stench possible serving as the defining element of the film's atmosphere. This is as weighty a drama as there is, and the film was met with far more critical praise than popular demand. For John Williams, Angela's Ashes was a project in keeping with the composer's general shift towards dramatic films of cultural emphasis. From 1997 to 2000, historical dramas dominated the composer's output. This is, though, with the exception of two sequel efforts, one of which diminished advance interest in Angela's Ashes almost completely. In a year overshadowed by a not-so-phantom menace of galactic proportions, Williams left 1999 with a score that some listeners wrote off as only an afterthought. Still, Angela's Ashes reaches back to the emotional roots of Williams' ethnic storytelling abilities, overwhelming the listener with a heartfelt tale of pride, family, and heritage. Williams' qualifications for the topic were undoubtedly superior to those of any other composer alive, and, in short, he proves it. The Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for this score rather than Star Wars: The Phantom Menace may irritate more mainstream listeners (and arguably be a mistake or oversight on many technical levels), but Angela's Ashes remains worthy of significant respect.

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Average: 3.87 Stars
***** 1,922 5 Stars
**** 1,583 4 Stars
*** 956 3 Stars
** 424 2 Stars
* 248 1 Stars
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Tracks unspoiled
Tomo Shiratori - September 28, 2004, at 10:57 a.m.
1 comment  (2614 views)
Angela´s Ashes   Expand >>
Kjell Jonsson - September 25, 2004, at 11:36 p.m.
2 comments  (3766 views)
Newest: March 26, 2008, at 1:39 a.m. by
Michael Björk
one of the best books and adaptive scores
laura kane - December 4, 2003, at 5:42 a.m.
1 comment  (2594 views)
Version without quotes!   Expand >>
David Gray - June 10, 2002, at 7:22 a.m.
2 comments  (2960 views)
Newest: April 25, 2009, at 2:43 p.m. by
Michael Björk
Jane Eyre?
Chris - February 4, 2002, at 7:21 a.m.
1 comment  (2399 views)
Nice...heavy but nice
peter king - September 10, 2001, at 1:17 p.m.
1 comment  (2003 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 58:50
• 1. Theme from Angela's Ashes (6:18)
• 2. My Story (2:19)
• 3. Angela's Prayer (4:47)
• 4. My Dad's Stories (1:55)
• 5. Lord, Why do You Want the Wee Children? (4:03)
• 6. Plenty of Fish and Chips in Heaven (3:41)
• 7. The Dipsy Doodle - performed by Nat Gonella & His Georgians (1:30)
• 8. The Lanes of Limerick (3:37)
• 9. Looking for Work (3:31)
• 10. Pennies from Heaven - performed by Billie Holiday (2:11)
• 11. My Mother Begging (3:46)
• 12. If I Were in America (2:34)
• 13. Delivering Telegrams (2:23)
• 14. I Think of Theresa (1:50)
• 15. Angels Never Cough (2:38)
• 16. Watching the Eclipse (3:00)
• 17. Back to America (2:38)
• 18. Angela's Ashes Reprise (6:16)

Notes Icon
The insert includes extensive photography from the film, but no extra information about the score. The cover art is among the ugliest in the Filmtracks collection.
Copyright © 1999-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Angela's Ashes are Copyright © 1999, Sony Classical and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/17/99 and last updated 4/24/08.
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