Sir Anthony Hopkins
Hannibal the Cannibal is no longer to be known as a mere liver-loving gourmand: the Silence of the Lambs actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is now feted as a composer of classical music too, developed from the meanderings of a small piano-playing boy in Wales into two film scores (Slipstream and August) and a series of orchestral works that have been toured with the eminent City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Now the British radio station Classic FM has released this live recording of selected works, performed by the CBSO, and it is certainly an interesting listen - though perhaps a curiosity more than a revelation. There is little doubt that here is an accomplished musician: to score a film is no small task, and Hopkins has apparently been toying with composition since childhood, his third wife Stella finally pushing him to take his talents further.
And he must be pleased with this effort. His music is, rather as one might expect, cinematic: it has the mood-play and orchestration of a movie score, with unashamed influences from the late Romantics (as in his tribute to Stella, which owes something to both Saint-Saëns and Fauré), mid-20th-century film composers such as Bernard Hermann (in Orpheus) and Leonard Bernstein (1947: Plaza) and the Impressionists (the start of Bracken Road features an almost verbatim quote from Debussy's Girl With the Flaxen Hair).
If there's nothing wildly new or innovative here, this is nevertheless a fascinating insight into the mind and tastes of one of our great actors, and a very enjoyable listen indeed.