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

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Red Riding
Music by Adrian Johnston, Dickon Hinchliffe & Barrington Pheloung
Silva Screen Records SILCD1285 (UK)
33 Tracks 74:17 mins

Channel 4's prestigious series of three films, based on David Peace's crime thrillers, set in Yorkshire in the '70s & '80s, screened recently, and featured a distinguished cast including Sean Bean, Paddy Considine and David Morrissey. The three films, entitled simply1974, 1980 and 1983, each featured a different composer, two of which are somewhat veterans of British TV and film, Adrian Jonston and Barrington Pheloung; the other, a new name to me, Dickon Hinchliffe.
I personally didn't watch these films, having long ago tired of the constant diet of crime, both domestically made and imported, that overpopulates UK terrestrial television. Mind you, had I known beforehand of the composing talent employed for the series, I might well have watched 1974 at least, as Adrian's music is always worth a listen. That episode accounts for the first 12 tracks on this generous compilation of music from the scores, and opens with the initially flowing guitar theme of "Eddie," which turns more reflective as it proceeds. Guitar features strongly in the score and provides both propulsion and poignancy. On "Paula" it is joined by cello to make, along with the closing "Never Come Back," where they also combine, the most likeable and moving tracks in the score; whilst violin adds poignancy to "Sunshine Down South." Along the way, there are eerie and dramatic moments, as in "Devil's Ditch," "Swan," "Shangrila" and "The Karachi Club;" whilst more purposeful fare features in "Microfiche" and "Redmoor."
I know absolutely nothing about Dickon Hinchliffe, save for him being founder member of The Tindersticks, whoever they may be, but he is composer of the score for 1980, accounted for by tracks 13 to 25 on the disc. The score certainly gets off to a dramatic start with the surging strings and almost military percussion of "The Ripper." As with Johnston's score, guitar features strongly, propelling events in the likes of "Your Answer" and "Ripper in the Belly;" with cello also returning for the likes of "The Moors;" and more eeriness and drama along the way, like the intense organ sounds of "To Fitzwilliam" and "The Karachi Club Shooting." It is overall very much akin to Johnston's approach, but with piano adding to the timbre of the score, achieving prominence in the poignant "The Ridings" and "The Confession," with its high strings accompaniment. Hinchliffe provides an almost music box waltz-like accompaniment for "Christmas;" and "Five Men, Five Guns" reaches a strings-dominated emotional climax, which is quite effective," a feeling reprised in the closing "Peace at Last."
The final film, 1983, features music by Australian Barrington Pheloung, a veteran of British crime drama, notably Morse. His eight tracks close the disc and the somewhat tragic "Jobson's Theme" gets the score off to a dramatic start. A large string section dominates his score, with "Finding Hazel" the first to feature some intense string playing, initially uplifting, but ultimately tragic, I fear, and somewhat reminiscent of Michael Nyman. "Missing" is quieter fare, though strings still dominate, alongside poignant harp playing, and continue in "Love Theme," but not as one would expect, but again rather tragically. The remaining tracks are pretty much all in the same vein, though "Lost Children" again features poignant harp and also woodwinds. The closing track is a welcome alternate version of "Finding Hazel."
This is quality television scoring by two masters of their art and one very promising newcomer. Well worth your time and money, you can order your copy from


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