Sunday, July 15, 2001

Looking for Richard - Howard Shore

General Album Info - Liked the movie. Liked the music in the movie. Was not unreminded of Doyle's Henry V.

Very First Impression - Good.

Tiny Little Nutshell - Too much singin' Choral arrangements are a tad monolithic.

Track by Track

1. Richard, Duke of York 4:09

General Effect - Generally sad with bits of anger and desperation.

Highlight - The low horn fanfare.

Notes - A series of broad chords, evocative of an overture quickly usher in a full chorus singing a very Shore-like tune. Tympani strikes presage a Poseidon-like fanfare in low horns. The chorus reacts unemotionally to interruptions. A muscular rocking figure underpins a section where the men's voices predominate. A "Jesus" chord occurs near the end.

2. Queen Margaret 3:13

General Effect -

Highlight -

Notes - A sea-like figure in the cellos prepares the ground for chilly violins playing long sustained chords. Distant, occasional drum strikes impart a dawn battlefield aspect. Deeper strings come in on different lines, creating a denser sound. An organ chord concludes the cut.

3. Lady Anne Neville 10:29

General Effect - episodic

Highlight - march-like section

Notes - Starts off with a string figure and choral treatment right out of Henry V. As wind accents and layers are added, the Shore orchestrations predominate for a bit. The middle strings + oboe line really evokes Doyle. The chorus is in a less declamatory mood than before. Solo tenors a la Gregorian chant are introduced as part of a contemplative section. This is interrupted by a war-like, halting march. Trombones and tympani exchange lurches for a bit. A bit of seeming whimsy is performed by the bassoon for a brief stretch before giving over to high strings and clarinet. This transition leads to a section of women's chorus, who have picked up the staggering broken rhythm. The men respond in kind. A cappella women introduce an elegiac section only lightly supported by the orchestra. Tremolo violins and very high sopranos exchange a few notes with a high clarinet. The Doyle-like music is re-introduced with the addition of isolated triangle strikes. The general effect toward the end is that of a funeral cortege.

4. George, Duke of Clarence 11:42

General Effect - Still more dire happenings

Highlight - Big crescendo

Notes - The introduction is rhythmically cluttered, but clearly martial. The chorus is a tad more agitated, but still in a cold, unemotional state. Silences punctuate much of the material. The briefest glimpses of a calm resignation peep through a cloud of dire pronouncement. An insistent rhythmic figure (which somehow reminds me of High Noon) introduces a stretch of brass mutterings. This gives way to a calmish bit with the full orchestra,sitting on top of some Mahlerian brass voicing. The subtle organ has slipped in again, as well. Near the middle of the cue, a trumpet calls out. A solo soprano sings "Deus testificeteur." A quick, massive crescendo featuring strenuously sawing strings soon gives over to a canon-like construct in the strings. Soon the strings are much in parallel in an aria-like motif. Low men's voices along with low orchestral voices, somewhat subdued approach a liturgical mood. This mood is immediately amplified by an organ-accompanied paean which concludes the cue.

5. William, Lord Hastings 5:22

General Effect - Post-battle recriminations.

Highlight - Fanfares. Ostinato.

Notes - Trumpet fanfares. Alternate with introspective lines from low winds and strings. An ostinato under distant men's voices. Timpani crescendo. Brass accents. Louder ostinato. Dramatic finale.

6. Ghosts 4:05

General Effect - very violent

Highlight - descending figures

Notes - Driving string figure underneath full orchestra. Voices are still emotionally distant, but there may be recriminations in there. Broad-shouldered, descending figures predominate. Tuba pedal points. Field drums pick up the tempo in a deliberate and violent way. Men's voices, much agitated pronounce "Solus."

7. Henry, Earl of Richmond 6:02

General Effect -

Highlight - Giant crescendo

Notes - Distant tattoo on field drums is underpinned by a string bass drone. The chorus appears. Pining strings build up textures during a long crescendo culminating in a brass explosion. This volume is maintained, Goldenthal-like, for a considerable period. Trombone declamations break through the volume. The chorus continues to declaim their Latin. A few chords of resolution are allowed in the generally downward-trending chords. Men and drums pronounce the last word, "Domine."

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