Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Music by Dario Marianelli
Universal Music Classics & Jazz 4766195 (EU)
15 Tracks 40:31 mins

Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel of the same name has already received much acclaim, not least at this year's Venice Film Festival, and is now on release in the UK. A romantic tale with its fair share of tragedy, the story spans several decades, encompassing World War II and stars James McAvoy and Keira Knightley.
Composer of the film's score is Italian in Britain Dario Marianelli, re-teaming with Wright, following their triumph with Pride and Prejudice and, whilst his score, on disc at least, left me somewhat cold (though I admit not having seen the film), this, among several scores I have sampled by the composer in recent times, is the standout for me, an emotion-packed masterpiece, based largely on two themes, that representing Knightley's character's sister Briony, a busy theme, sometimes driven by the clattering rhythms of an old manual typewriter, and a somewhat versatile love theme, at times quite melancholy and even tragic, at others passionate and soaring. Most of the album's tracks feature variations on these pieces and there is not a one that doesn't have something to offer.
Probably one of the highlights of the score is "Elegy for Dunkirk," in which cellist Caroline Dale leads the strings in a powerful piece of writing, pitted against a well-known hymn at one point. Having seen some of this scene on TV recently, I can vouch for its power in the film.
The other principal soloist is pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who sometimes leads the English Chamber Orchestra on his own, or duets with Ms Dale.
Having been heard mostly in variations on its initial busy interpretation, Briony's Theme closes the score in more reflective mood, with the final album track being the lovely, but somewhat redundant "Clair de Lune" by Debussy.
The disc's packaging includes plenty of colour stills from the film, plus notes from both director and composer.
It seems highly likely that both film and score will feature strongly come awards time next year.


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