As a long time admirer of Anthony Hopkins’ acting talent, I’ve been on what seems determined to become a lifelong quest to see all of his work. With a filmography of scores of excellent movies, he does not make this easy, but it is infinitely enjoyable. One of my favorites is August, a beautiful, sad, evocative film with an ending that blends tragedy and a sort of quiet grace. It was through August that I discovered his talent for directing and composing as well. I have watched the movie countless times, and the beautiful soundtrack is among my favorite CDs.

Recently I discovered that there is a CD of his compositions, and it too is now among my favorites. Classical music can range from the discordant to the divine, and Anthony Hopkins’ Composer covers the entire range with style and panache. His use of dissonant chords could be an annoying distraction, but through skilled interweaving with graceful melody it enhances the whole. Together his many ideas and creative leaps make up a panorama of sound and imagery that flows through the ears and into the mind, like a montage from his imagination.

If this sounds as if I write from an intimate knowledge of his imagination and how it works with his music, I do thanks to the wonderful booklet that contains very literal liner notes. An opening essay segues into detailed explanations of the origins of each piece of music. After reading of his childhood experiences that led to the creations of the three pieces designated 1947, my imagination took over and provided me with vivid imagery based on his descriptions of attending the Circus, hearing a snatch of music along Bracken Road, and attending Carmen Miranda movies at The Plaza.

Listening to 1947 – Circus in particular is very nearly like watching a scene from a movie, elephant trumpeting, rider swaying in time with the music, the excitement of the entire experience…the first time I listened to that was one of the most immersive music experiences I’ve ever had. Perhaps as an actor, writer, and director his music as well springs from some innate gift for visual story telling. It seems likely to me, because I found myself wishing he would write novels and poetry, based on the beautiful way he expressed himself in the liner notes of my new favorite classical music.

The only thing that would make me love it more, is if he played piano on the CD as well, as he did on the August soundtrack.

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