The Dave Grusin Archive
Music for the Screen
In The Gloaming




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Stars:  Glenn Close, Bridget Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Sean Leonard, David Strathairn

Director:  Christopher Reeve

Producer:  Nellie Nugiel

First Broadcast:  HBO 1997

Story:  A family faces a turning point when an estranged son returns home to die from AIDS.

This is a film about time and its measurement, whereby in a few screen minutes, we see summer turn to fall and beyond, not just in the landscape, but a young man's brief life.  And the delicate music for this film encapsulates every nuance of this.

For admirers of Dave Grusin who have always hoped for another score in the mode  of “On Golden Pond,” the poetic music for “In The Gloaming” is a wonderful opportunity to hear the composer at the piano almost seeming to improvise to picture.  In fact, having this quality, the score stands on its own within the Grusin filmography.

Eloquently echoing the countryside and its seasonal changes, the sensitive and reflective score is also touched by a Scottish mist, representing a late grandfather, often spoken of, an always present in spirit.


But this Scottish essence - additionally rendered  by tin whistle - harks not merely to a taciturn family heritage, but is, like the title, linked to the last weeks in the life of someone dying of AIDS.

In so doing, it speaks for the characters whose communications are fraught and hesitant at best.  The tender score is a constant reflection of the mother's love - deep and unbound, but expressed with the restraint she feels is required in the situation.  

Just as subtly, it evokes the young man who has come home to die, almost in family tradition, with the dignity and self-control which characterizes all their dealings.

As director Christopher Reeve himself refrained from allowing much sentimentality in the drama, The piano-based score - occasionally augmented by strings, supplies the poignancy which gives the picture that necessary dimension, but completely in keeping with its overall ethos.


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