Thursday, 6 February 2014

Romeo and Juliet Score Review

Title: Romeo and Juliet
Composer/s: Abel Korzeniowski 
Length: 50 minutes
Track Count: 16 tracks
Year of Release: 2013

Abel Korzeniowski is one of the best composers in the business; his score for 2011's W.E garnered much critical acclaim, as did his physiological score, Escape From Tomorrow, which happened to one of 2013's shining moments. Romeo and Juliet is another outing for the brilliant composer, and this time, he is given a crappy romance film to score for. So what does he decide to do, you may ask. Well, create an emotional, grand, soothing and heartbreaking orchestral effort, that does well to pull at every string possible. So, on that cue, let's jump into this score.

Korzeniowski has opted for a total orchestral score here; nothing artificial. And ultimately, the end result is quite sublime. The string ensemble is the main highlight with Romeo and Juliet. They have a very high edge to them, that will break some, and entrance others. I'm part of the latter group. His use of the powerful set of strings on offer is really what makes this score. There are so many a time in which a piece makes it's way from humble beginnings, to outstanding climax's, all thanks to the power and beauty of the delicate strings. All masterful work. The rest of the orchestra works in perfect harmony, as well. A minimal amount of percussion work is necessary here, as the rest of the orchestra maintains fluent and graceful melodies by themselves, to my surprise. 2013 has been a year of heavy percussion, but this is an exception that pleases the ears. Ultimately, it's down to the relationships between instruments that makes this a pleasantry to behold. Everything works in perfect harmony, to create one moving, beautiful piece of work that can very much be listened to as a complete suite, without any problems.

The main theme is first introduced in our opening piece, Juliet's Dream. It's a quick, steady theme which is performed by a wonderful ensemble of strings, accompanying a beautiful piano. It's certainly simplistic; I've found that is just how Korzeniowski works. He doesn't need to create incredibly intricate, complicated pieces of work. Straightforward works just fine for the man, and it's just the best thing for his themes and scores. This theme benefits from being straightforward, and leans on constantly building volume and intensity, which is enjoyable and interesting to listen to. We don't hear much of the theme for the first half of the score, to my dismay, unfortunately. The piece, Death is my Heir, though, whilst short, expands on the theme and allows for a small showcase. It's a wonderful and pleasant revisit that I'm happy to see. 

Whilst so much of the score is a grand outing, one that doesn't care so much for jeopardy, a good portion of the score is frantic and full of dread. One of my favourite pieces on the card, Come, Gentle Night is full of quick, constant riffs and rhythms that urge on at a fast pace, unlike so much of this score. These changes in pace and rhythm remind me deeply of Escape From Tomorrow; one of 2013's best scores. Korzeniowski never seemed to stop with that score, constantly expanding and delivering over and over again over the short 21 minute span. It was a delight to listen to! When Korzeniowski attempts to change up the constant rhythm and pace, to something less predictable and more involving, he delivers perfectly. The Crypt, Part's 1 and 2 are perfect examples of this, with their humble, sombre and slow beginnings, making their way towards a quicker, unnerving pace. It's a credit to Korzeniowski, that he can combine both orchestral flawlessness for a classic sounding romantic score, and imperfect, brooding themes for a seemingly more dark and dangerous finished product, that doesn't, at first glance, fit a story like that of Romeo and Juliet's. It turns out, though, that it most certainly can, and does.

Romeo and Juliet is a wonderful addition to Korzeniowski's filmography, despite the fact the film itself turned out to be an atrocious piece of work. It's brilliantly composed, smart, emotional, and covers all the bases that a romantic score needs covered, and more

1. Juliet's Dream
2. Forbidden Love
3. Queen Mab
4. The Cheek of Night
5. First Kiss
6. Trooping With Crows
7. A Thousand Times Good Night
8. Come, Gentle Night*
9. Wedding Vows
10. Fortune's Fool
11. From Ancient Grudge
12. Death Is My Heir*
13. Tempt Not A Desperate Man
14. The Crypt, Part 1*
15. The Crypt, Part 2
16. Eternal Love*

Junkie Score: 99.79
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