Carnivale Soundtrack From the Original HBO Series
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HBO's acclaimed new series, CARNIVALE follows a traveling carnival as it wends its way across the Dust Bowl, focusing on a mysterious young fugitive with hidden talents who is taken in by the carnival, and on the charismatic, shadowy evangelist who will ultimately cross his path. The 12-episode dramatic series takes place at a time of worldwide unrest, with evil on the rise around the globe and the Great Depression wreaking economic and social havoc here at home. The dark, magical score for CARNIVALE was composed by Jeff Beal.
HBO's pioneering series takes the dark carnival gambit of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, drops it in the bleak heartland of Dust Bowl-era America and jolts it with a compelling undercurrent of Biblical apocalypse. That's no easy dramatic flux to musically evoke, but veteran TV composer Jeff Beal graces the show with cues that seamlessly fuse Appalachian folk traditions with a brooding, goth-inspired ambient gloom. The anxious solo fiddle of the show's theme is a repeating motif, one the composer uses to variously evoke melancholy ("Dora Mae's Funeral"), bittersweet romance ("Rita Sue and Jonesy") or supernatural wonders ("Ben Heals the Girl"). Beal's use of mournful solo horn (as on "Mark of the Beast") often heralds the show's undercurrent of Biblical doom, while his hesitant, haunting piano passages seem to hang in the air for eternity. The evocative cues here stand in stark contrast to the oft-quirky jazz cool of the composer's Emmy-winning work on Monk, ample tribute to Beal's masterful abilities to channel his musical instincts into even the most diverse dramatic material. --Jerry McCulley
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Off Top, but related: I wish they didn't cancel the series - this was truly unique, high quality art. Same old story of good vs. evil, but with twists.
I know that this is "throwaway" incidental music for a TV show that only a few people watch, but I'm very grateful that it has been made available for those of us who have noticed just how marvelous it really is.