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Strings by Jørgen Lauritsen

Strings

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Strings (Soundtrack)  by Jørgen Lauritsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strings (Soundtrack) by Jørgen Lauritsen

Strings
Composed by Jørgen Lauritsen
Keep Moving Records (2010)

Rating: 7/10

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“LAURITSEN’S score for STRINGS is perhaps too delicate and relaxing for its own good. It often suggests that it may erupt into glorious fanfare before checking itself and resuming into a more subdued but occasionally breathtakingly fragile complexion. ”

A Puzzle of Strings
Review by Richard Buxton

The ancient tale of vengeance is one frequently visited by films the world over, among these tales the avenging of one’s father is among the most told. Never has such a story been told quite like it is in STRINGS however, as Danish director Anders RØNNOW KLARLUND, with the help of expert puppeteer BERND OGRODNIK set out to create a rich adventure in a universe populated by actual marionettes. One’s immediate reaction is likely to swing instantly between the “love it or hate it” camp on hearing the premise, but is undeniably an original and fascinating one.

As our protagonist Hal, voiced by James McAvoy in the English dub, sets out on his quest to the death of his father, he is accompanied the lush sweeping harmonies of RØNNOW KLARLUND, a newcomer at the time of the release of STRINGS having only score one (TV) movie beforehand.

Fittingly KALRLUND’s score is mostly dominated by strings that provide a beautiful and resounding depth to the sound. Immediately, in the opening track “Death of the King/Main Title”, a range of emotions pour out of the string section that range from mourning to optimism and triumph. The tonality instantly switches in the subsequent track, “Evil Plan”, into a creeping and dissonant atmosphere.

As the tracklist plays out it is interest to notice how the soundtrack has been structured. More often than not the mood of the score has been arranged to build tension in one track and release in the next, repeating the process in the following pair of compositions. “Requiem/Close The City Gates/Fencing Fight” unravels in a similar manner to the opening track in its variety of emotions before “Lost Hand/Invisible Letter” winds down the excitement and weaves a more subdued atmosphere as the motifs are punctuated by frequent breaks consisting of drawn out string reverberations. This is again apparent in the tracks, “Mausoleum/Quest Begins” and “The Swamp/Hal’s Letter” as the former echoes the main theme before giving way to the underscore of the latter.

The decision to structure the score in such a way benefits the listener in that the experience avoids becoming too predictable but perhaps foils itself in suddenly dropping any momentum previously gained. Nowhere is this is more apparent than in a nonetheless strong track, “Marketplace/Fallen Idol/Meeting With Zita”. The delicate theme builds up delightfully before transitioning into a frantic string motif. Once the track threatens to reach its peak it drops off into near silence for the final 30 seconds, clearly with the intention of making a smooth switch into “Love At First Sight/Midnight Trap/The Birth”. While it is understandable that a transition between tracks should avoid any jarring change-ups, it comes at a disappointment when LAURITSEN provides moments of excellence, only to be scuppered by the constraints of a soundtrack release and perhaps the film itself. Despite this, “Love At First Sight/Midnight Trap/The Birth” revives the heights previously reached with a sumptuous string and harp duet finale.
LAURITSEN’S consistent ability to paint each manner in which he has scored with delicacy is something of a marvel at times as he has managed to weave melancholy and grace into the most dramatic and least subtle moments of the score. “Mountain Climb/Jhinna In Prison” opens with a forceful horn rally before the return of the harp and strings.

As the score moves into the final half of the tracklist the complexion of the score shifts somewhat and becomes harder to predict and is all the better for it. From the exotic percussion of “Drum Dance/The Warrior Zita’s Dance” to the gorgeous sweeping of the strings and descents of the harp in “We Are All Connected”.

In a string-dominated score, the emergence of horns comes as a welcome shift in dynamics when they do arise, and this is exemplified in the reflective “Truth Revealed” as the Horns compliment the strings well. The horns also often represent LAURITSEN’S rare expedition into action territory as heard in “Fight For Freedom/Jhinna’s Execution. The word “action” is perhaps defined somewhat differently in STRINGS as it might be in, say, AVATAR, but it is effective all the same, despite the lack of distinct bombast. “The Final Battle/Hal Return/Burning Strings/After The War” all hint at a potential explosion into traditional action-based music but LAURITSEN opts to take a more subtle approach, never forcing the emotions on the listener, but never quite whisking them away as he may have intended.

The absence of a truly obvious main theme for STRINGS is somewhat puzzling as it seems to be hinted at early on in the score, but never truly materializes as a powerful force in the various, often anonymous, motifs heard throughout. LAURITSEN does manage to squeeze out one of the strongest tracks for the finale n “Jhinna’s Farewell” which comprises of beautiful vocals that lead into a triumphant and resounding conclusion.

LAURITSEN’S score for STRINGS is perhaps too delicate and relaxing for its own good. It often suggests that it may erupt into glorious fanfare before checking itself and resuming into a more subdued but occasionally breathtakingly fragile complexion. For only his second score, STRINGS, was an impressive follow-up to his debut, and LAURITSEN is clearly worth taking notice of in any future projects.
 

Rating: 7/10

 

 


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Death of the King/ Main Title 2:49  ****
2 Evil Plan 1:49  **
3 Requiem/ Close the City Gates/ Fencing Fight 2:25  ***
4 Lost Hand/ Invisible Letter 1:22  ***
5 Hal Ready for Revenge 1:12  ***
6 Mausoleum/ Quest Begins 2:25  ****
7 The Swamp/ Hal's Nightmare 2:50  ***
8 The Letter 1:20  ***
9 Beauty and the Beast 1:29  ***
10 Marketplace/ Fallen Idol/ Meeting with Zita 2:15  ****
11 Love at First Sight/ Midnight Trap/ The Birth 3:30  ****
12 Mountain Climb/ Jhinna in Prison 2:05  ***
13 Ghrak's Story/ Fighting at the Lake 4:30  ***
14 Underwater 0:57  **
15 Stranger with No Name/ Ghrak's Renewal 1:56  ***
16 Drum Dance/ The Warrior/ Zita's Dance 2:32  **
17 We are All Connected 2:53  ***
18 Akra's Death 1:08  ****
19 Tied by Hate and Bound by Love/ The Path of Betrayal 1:52  ***
20 Erito in Dungeon 1:29  ****
21 Hal Lost in Desert 2:21  ****
22 Some People are Bound Together 1:21  ***
23 Truth Revealed 1:12  ****
24 Fight for Freedom/ Jhinna's Execution 1:30  ****
25 Fall of the Tyrant 1:09  ***
26 Prelude to War 1:46  **
27 The Final Battle/ Hal Return/ Burning Strings/ After the War 7:39  ****
28 Jhinna's Farewell 2:51  ****
29 End Credits 3:37  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 67 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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