Beautifully scored James Horner soundtrack premieres on CD!
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Beautifully scored James Horner soundtrack premieres on CD! Haunting, ultimately stunning 2008 Mark Herman film from famous John Boyne bestseller tells story of two young boys sharing growing friendship albeit formidable fence made of steel poles with tightly meshed barbed wire stands between them. Adding to their challenge: this is 1944 Berlin. One boy’s father is respected German commander, the other’s father is Jewish prisoner in camp where everyone wears “striped pajamas.” Neither boy yet understands why the camp’s population dwindles nor what the black smoke coming from concrete stacks means. When the tale reaches its horrific denouement, audiences are in shock. Herman scripts, Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend star, James Horner scores. Musical challenge was significant: Provide deep feeling to the story, make it vaguely Germanic, yet keep it neutral, very simple, stark. Solo piano anchors, strings provide sensitive layer of weight, oboe offers tender support. Horner creates profound harmonic vocabulary for ultimately grim story: Major chords predominate. Main theme is gently lyrical with abundance of major chords to accompany it while numerous important sequences put whole tone progressions in the spotlight. Not “sunny” sonorities by any means, these are major chords moving by steps both upwards, downwards, evoking rich emotional feeling. Every idea works with innocence, discovery and emotion, all heading towards an inexorable climax: Here Horner sustains his shifting harmonies for nearly ten minutes with ever thickening string figures slowly building with increasing density and dissonance towards a shocking conclusion. A masterful cue! Entire score then comes down to closing credit music, played on solo piano (after brief string introduction), made heartfelt when listeners note soloist is James Horner himself. Score recorded, mixed by Simon Rhodes at Eastwood Scoring Stage, Warner Bros. in March 2008. Composer and engineer selected a generous 52 minutes of music (nearly the entire score) in 2008 and prepared a beautifully assembled album that never saw commercial CD release until this premiere Intrada presentation, courtesy Hollywood Records. Booklet art direction by Kay Marshall, notes by Frank K. DeWald. James Horner composes, orchestrates, conducts. Intrada Special Collection CD available while quantities and interest remain!