Joep's Arthouse Scores

December 2007 & January/February 2008

I wanted to write one article each month, but took a bit of a pause. Now I've taken the liberty of writing about the three highlights of these past three months. Readers can expect from now on a monthly contribution about arthouse cinema and its music.

I've been following Armand Amar's career for some time now and have seen Amen, Va, vis et deviens and Indigenes in my theatre in recent years. In november 2007 I saw L'Enfant Endormi, a somewhat older film that was finally shown. Most of the score was performed by duduk and some strings, accentuating the stressful situation of the Maroccon women. That specific mournful quality of the duduk was very suitable for characters in pain. Like on Bab'Aziz and many more, Amar used world artists to sing and perform an instrument for his score. This time that were Koussasn Achod and duduk player Lévon Minassian. The film also included traditional Maroccon chants. A great shame, but the music hasn’t been released on cd yet.

My first big discovery of 2008 was of the Czech composer Ales Brezina, who's music I heard in Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (The Child Sleeps). This film includes the most funny and original things I've seen in years. Slapstick scenes in a restaurant feature a hugely memorable waltz written by the composer, that’s reprised a few times. There’s also a tribute to the silent age film with typical solo piano from those days. This piano returns in a more tragic variation as the scene’s reprised, but then in wartime. Authentic (swing) music from the thirties also passes by. In contrast to the hilarious music is a lot of sweet material. The main character, Jan Dite, wants to make lots of money and ends up working in the most crazy, but classy places around. In his naive adventure for money the most gorgeous, magical events occur at work. The woodwind music with fairytale harp and swelling strings therefore serve these beautiful events as well as the dreaming statue of mind of Dite. In the second half of the film the music develops in more mature, sad music when the WOII has started. Brezina’s music is full of variety and freshness. Simply brilliant. Czech EMI released a score cd.

Rec Sound (Chrisnanne Wiegel, Melcher Meirmans and Merlijn Snitke) wrote fantastic music for Het Schnitzelparadijs. I had high hopes for their next Dutch film called Alles is Liefde, a romantic comedy in the veins of Love Actually. Naturally I knew these composers would do a awful good job. It was very melodic material that easily fitted all the moods of the film. Very moving, with great themes and much emphasis on solo instruments. So all my wishes came true. On top of that they released one single cue on the various artists cd and the entire score on Itunes. Most of the films I see in the theatre never get a score release, so this is quite something. If only I would accept that it's always better to have a download only release than nothing.

Written by Joep de Bruijn