Eduard Artemyev

" The main theme of the score is a memorable melody, whose notes are carried over to strings, woodwinds, piano, and a female voice throughout the film. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the music as heard in the movie

12 (2007) is a Russian remake of 12 Angry Men, directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. In light of what justifies any remake, 12 is exceedingly interested in crafting the status quo of Russia, through the diversity amongst the jury members, as they pass judgment on a Chechen boy for murder, and the viewer on them. However, the shifting views of all jurors, which complicate the needed consensus to either find the boy guilty or not guilty, are overtly long in introducing each juror's background while also absorbing a lot of time with scenes of the Chechen–Russian conflict and the boy's history. Not to mention the rabbit out of the hat-ending....

The music was written by composer Eduard Artemyev (Edward Nicolay Artemyev, Eduard Nikolayevich Artemyev, Edward Artemiev..), a pioneer in electronic music, whose resume includes many outstanding collaborations with Andrei Tarkovsky, Andrey Konchalovskiy and Nikita Mikhalkov. Some of Artemyev's music was innovative and offered great support to the deeply artistic intentions of Tarkovsky. Apart from the imaginative Urga, most of the films the composer scored for Mikhalkov are more direct Russian nationalistic projects, not devoid of overall merit, but very different.

His score to 12 employs an orchestra, soloists and minor electronic devices, fueling the complexity of the characters, and, to some extent, the intended suspense as the plot unfolds. It is mostly introvert, slow, and sober music, sometimes more expressive, allowing the strings section of the orchestra to flourish a little. The music is strong in supporting the background stories of each juror, and reaches great emotional depths in underscoring the one from the least sympathetic juror. This member often makes unnuanced remarks and continuously defies everything and everyone strongly, but as he tells his story, explaining his behaviour, Artemyev supports this with subtle use of the string section and a powerful, immersive solo woodwind.

The main theme of the score is a memorable melody, whose notes are carried over to strings, woodwinds, piano, and a female voice throughout the film. The culmination of the theme comes towards the end, with the interesting use of the female voice; Artemyev recorded her wordless singing, then blended several takes interconnected with each other, allowing for multiple layers of the same voice, singing the melody of the theme. It establishes a sense of conflict, confusion, and strong emotions befitting the content of the film.

In the sequences that serve as the background for the Chechen accused, bleak and suspenseful music is very effective in giving weight to the feel of the ongoing violent conflict. There's also a wonderful, possibly traditional Chechen dance, with strong use of a Caucasian (?) accordion, used diegetically and non-diegetically, that is repeatedly reprised as the boy dances to it, awaiting judgment in his cell. Yet, within his confined space, without the knife, given by a Chechen soldier in the original backstory dance scene, a knife that is a subject of conversation amongst the jurors in deciding their verdict, it remains evidently memorable, both visually and musically.

12 is an interesting film, nonetheless very flawed, taking too much time to go around the essence that made its original film so strong. Despite this critical view, the music by Eduard Artemyev is exceptionally strong in aiding the necessities of the dramatic content. The music remains unreleased.

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- (music as heard in the movie 2007)