November 17, 2021
The Ambassador's Wife and Other Stories (Navona 6365) is a collection of eleven quite gorgeous miniatures by composer George David Kieffer, most known perhaps as a song writer. He had a song appear in the more recent Pink Panther remakes. For this release, the pieces have been co-orchestrated by Vincent Gillioz who also conducts the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra here. Gillioz is an award-winning composer of film music and there is certainly a cinematic quality to the pieces recorded on this album.
Kieffer has a really fine sense of melody which can be heard in the many gorgeous thematic ideas that appear here. The music here feels much like a collection of film themes. The opening track, "From Here", presents a quality that is a blend of John Barry and maybe a lighter Morricone. The former's concept album, The Beyondness of Things (1988) is a quite distant cousin to this album and the orchestra here, well versed in film music, is the perfect choice for this music. There are some shifts from piano and orchestral music to other solo ideas that adds variety along the way. Sometimes there is a sort of Eastern European feel to the thematic writing ("The Clown Elegy" is a rather wittier moment of this). Of additional interest is a recording of Kieffer's Fanfare for the Olympics (a strong work in the style of Broughton or Debney) chosen as the official fanfare for the 2015 Los Angeles Special Olympics.
With a great sense of romantic musical language, strong thematic writing, and often witty orchestral writing, The Ambassador's Wife proves to be a quite accessible collection of engaging orchestral music that should be quite attractive. The album is available digitally and for download. It will be a fine addition to one's orchestral pops playlists.