CD REVIEW - CENTURION
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
MovieScore Media MMS 10009
19 Tracks 45:20 mins
Ilan Eshkeri has been making considerable inroads into the film scoring world in recent times, with fine works of the likes of Stardust and The Young Victoria, and he also contributed to one of my favourite films this years, Kick Ass. His latest is for Neil Marshall's Centurion, which purports to reveal the fate of the Roman Ninth Legion, which mysteriously disappeared when sent north to wipe out the Picts. The film concentrates on a small platoon, who evade the massacre that ensues, and their struggle to stay ahead of their Pictish pursuers.
Eshkeri provides a large orchestral score, performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, and recorded at the famous Abbey Road but, as a result of the composer's extensive research into Celtic music, he also incorporates the likes of the Carnyx, an unusual Scottish instrument, and the more familiar Bodhran, whilst basing his themes on folk songs from the Scottish Isles.
The opening title track starts mysteriously with distant female voice and ominous rumblings, before developing into a purposeful horns and strings-lead theme. The first of several tracks follows in the barbaric and powerful "Fort Attack." "The Ninth Ride Out" to a persistent drum beat, with threatening undertones, before a variant on the main theme is reintroduced. There's more thunderous action in "Quintus Escapes," but "Arianne" then provides a moment of tranquil beauty. The peace is however soon shattered with "The Ninth March On" continuing powerfully on their way, pausing for a brief mystic interlude, with whispered vocals, before continuing in more subdued fashion. "The General Falls" finds suitably tragic strings rising to an agonising crescendo, before yet more propulsive action opens "On the Run," which then takes a suspenseful turn. "The Village" is a nervy affair, and is followed by "The Funeral," with its mystical female vocal; whilst it's back to the action with the pounding opening to "She Wolf (Etain)," before the tragic strings return to lead us to another big crescendo and beyond.
There's more mysticism in "A Sacred Rite," with "We are the Prey," slowly building on the drums to a strident conclusion. "Waterfall" opens eerily, before the music rushes to another mini-crescendo; taking flight thereafter, ever more frantically. Again, a tranquil moment appears in "Necromancer," with the harp-lead music of "Arianne" returning, before a Bodhran solo opens "Wolves," leading to eerie dissonance thereafter.
As one would expect from its title, there's action all the way in "Battle at the Fort," leading to the penultimate track, the fragile "Quintus Returns." The elegiac strings of "Fate of the Ninth" close the score in mournful style.
Go to www.moviescoremedia.com/centurion.html for samples, a trailer for the film, and for details as to how to obtain your copy of the score on CD or as a digital download.