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Hawk by Stuart Hancock


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Hawk (Soundtrack) by Stuart Hancock










Hawk (Soundtrack) by Stuart Hancock

Composed by Stuart Hancock
MovieScore Media (2011)

Rating: 4/10

 Buy Hawk (Soundtrack)  by Stuart Hancock from iTunes


“HAWK, being a short film, clearly does not consist of the scope that HANCOCK would surely have flourished in, though it has provided audiences with a momentary glimpse into HANCOCK’S potential, something all will be hoping he fulfils.”

A Talon Tease
Review by Richard Buxton

With the majesty of Hollywood spectaculars consistently dominating the listening habits of the average film score collector, it is easy to forget that many of the greatest composers today, and those of the future, began their journey scoring short films. As both filmmaker and film composer seek to establish themselves in the cutthroat entertainment industry, short films become one of a vital component of one’s experience. However unexpected a release of a short film’s score is, it comes as a refreshing reminder of the origins of so many successful artists. Taking a similar opportunity, STUART HANCOCK has scored MJ MCMAHON’S HAWK.

STUART HANCOCK’S fluency in the use of a choir is immediately apparent as the score opens “Flight of the Hawk” (1), a track largely consisting of underscore, punctuated by fleeting choral flourishes, the voices rising from the depths alongside sweeping string statements. Whilst not stunning to the ears, “Flight of the Hawk” promises much on behalf of the rest of the score, and it is unfortunate that this promise is ever quite fulfilled.

The hardest aspect of this score to grasp is how the desire to fill such promise never makes its presence felt. HANCOCK succeeds in creating a dark, foreboding atmosphere throughout, transforming mirages of optimism into creeping suspense, as heard in “Roan and Taid” (3). He also succeeds in accenting the skulking underscore with moments of outright beauty, the opening minute of “Yn annwfyn y diwyth (The Peace of the Underworld)” (4) for example. Yet, it is in these moments that the seemingly vanquished potential of the score is briefly echoed, and it becomes increasingly disheartening and often frustrating when HANCOCK’S talents are teased, only to be stolen away before they have truly been established.

The score often descends into passages of pure atmosphere, as “Torrit Myundawl (The Wild Hunt)” (9) and “The Burial” (6) offer little more than an eerie backdrop. The greatest disappointment of HAWK, however, can be found in the tenth track, “Wrth war wrth wrys (The Savage Dawn), a piece that briefly flirts with the idea of expanding upon the potential heard in the opening moments of the score, before returning to the ever-present task of atmosphere-building. The track momentarily revisits the mood of the opening seconds, before falling away, and taking most of the potential with it.

HANCOCK’S most consistent success with HAWK is choir use, creating heartbreaking landscapes within the vocal harmonies. “The Seed Falls” (12) provides a powerful and haunting expedition into HANCOCK’S obvious affinity for vocals. Yet it is his final piece, and the penultimate track of the HAWK score that he finds his calling.

At odds with almost every other moment heard in the score, “Rising Soul (End Credits) (13), is a remarkable moment of release, a flash of light in the darkness, a journey into what might have been. Utilising achingly beautiful vocal chants and calling voices, a liberated rhythm and valiant brass, HANCOCK grants the listener a glimpse of his true ability. As if the entire score were a red herring for these transitory final three minutes, HANCOCK releases the ties the sought to bind him and shows his true worth.

It is in this merciful unshackling that the greatest disappointment arises. HAWK, being a short film, clearly does not consist of the scope that HANCOCK would surely have flourished in, though it has provided audiences with a momentary glimpse into HANCOCK’S potential, something all will be hoping he fulfils.

Rating: 4/10


Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Flight of the Hawk 3:12  ***
2 The Little Hunter 2:54  ***
3 Rowan and Taid 1:43  **
4 Yn annwfyn y diwyth (The Peace of the Underworld) 3:37  ***
5 Journey Into the Underworld 3:37  **
6 The Burial 1:43  **
7 Blood Must Be Repaid 2:10  ***
8 A Hunter of My Own 1:26  **
9 Torrit Mynudawl (The Wild Hunt) 4:56  **
10 Wrth war wrth wrys (The Savage Dawn) 3:03  ***
11 Revelations 1:29  ***
12 The Seed Falls 1:48  **
13 The Rising Soul (End Credits) 3:22  *****
14 The Legend of Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed (Bonus Track) 3:47  N/A
  Total Running Time (approx) 38 minutes  


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