For Colored Girls

Musical Score By: Aaron Zigman

Distributed by: Costa Communications

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I first heard of For Colored Girls when my brother raved about Natozake Shangeís Tony and Obie Award-winning theatrical production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.  My brother loved the choreopoem, a visual form of poetry transformed into a dramatic piece of entertainment, which weaves together numerous women's stories, the heartbreaks and sorrows they undergo and the ability of these individuals to somehow keep their faith and optimism, allowing themselves a positive outlook on themselves and their future.  These women were strong women, not because of all they suffered, but because of their ability to survive and still come out believing in themselves. 

            Recently, Tyler Perry adapted this play into a film featuring nine women who move into and out of each otherís lives and the numerous hardships and heartbreaks they endure that bring them together in a shared sense of understanding and truth about themselves.  The film stars Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise and Kerry Washington in one of the most moving films of the era.

            The musical score of For Colored Girls was composed by American composer, producer, arranger and songwriter Aaron Zigman.  At the age of six, Aaron Zigman began his classical musical training with his mother, a pianist and harpist.  Years later, while attending UCLA, Zigman signed a four year contract with Almo Irving and began writing, producing and arranging for some of the top artists of the day.  He eventually became a studio musician, creating the song Crush On You for The Jets, working with Clive Davis and arranging music for singers like Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, Sting, Dionne Warwick, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Holliday.

            He began working in film scoring after being approached by film director Nick Cassavetes who had attended a performance of Zigmanís symphonic tone poem called Rabin.  Zigman composed the musical score for the Cassavetes films John Q and The Notebook and his career took off.  He has worked on such films as The Proposal, Sex and the City, The Ugly Truth, Bridge to Taribithia, My Sisterís Keeper, Meet the Browns and more.

            For the musical score of For Colored Girls, Aaron Zigman employed different genres to tell the stories of  the women the movie portrayed.  The Main Titles, Double Poem and End Title are classical music and the music is melancholy with a bittersweet style.  Although sad, these pieces are actually quite a beautiful blend of classical piano solos as performed by Aaron Zigman and violin solos as performed by acclaimed violin virtuoso Joshua Bell.  These are the tracks of musical score I enjoyed the most, although they are not the only tracks I enjoyed.  Certainly, the aria La Donna in Viola was a pleasant surprise.  I never expected to hear opera performed in this score, but it was quite a happy and enjoyable surprise.  Shortly after La Donna in Viola, we get a taste of jazz in Lady in Purple and later, some modern music, quite the opposite of the classical music the score begins and ends with.

            All-in-all, I truly enjoyed the musical score of For Colored Girls which I received from Costa Communications.  I was thoroughly disappointed to discover that the musical score had not actually been released in album format.  As I write this article, I have only found the musical score in its entirety on the Streaming Soundtracks website.  One can only hope that this musical score finds its way onto the shelves of music stores everywhere.  The diversity of sound and the bittersweet beauty of melancholy classical sound represents the spirit of the women in For Colored Girls perfectly.


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