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The Gift (Soundtrack) by Christopher Young

Folksy-Creepy is The Gift
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

The Gift (Soundtrack) by Christopher Young

The Gift
8/10

The Gift (Soundtrack) by Christopher Young

 

Category

Score

Originality 9
Music Selection 8
Composition 9
CD Length 7
Track Order 8
Performance 9
Final Score 8/10

 

Real Audio Clips

 

Track 10  - Empathy

 

 


Composer 
Christopher Young

 

Quick Quotes

 

 

Composed by Christopher Young
Produced by Flavio Motalla, Christopher Young
Performed by the Northwest Sinfonia
Conducted by Adam Stern 
Released by Will Records - February 20, 2001

Unsuspecting.  That would be how I would categorize my state of mind regarding Christopher Young's score to the new Sam Raimi film, The Gift.  After just the first few moments of music, I was pleasantly blindsided by the intense beauty and simultaneous suspense this score delivered.

The Gift is psychological/ paranormal thriller with a clever, all-star cast.  Cate Blanchett heads the cast as the stories focal character, set in the small town of Brixton, Georgia.  She is a tarot card reader who, through her unique skill,  becomes the key to solving a murder mystery, not to mention, saving herself.  Early critiques of this film have been largely positive regarding her performance as well as many of the supporting cast members and has already made some waves among critics and nomination committee

If you happened see the film The Spitfire Grill, you'll remember one mysterious character who lived in the woods.  If you would, just imagine what the score for that film might have sounded like if that person had turned out to be...say... the Blair Witch.  Ok.  If you can do that, you'll have an idea of what Christopher Young's score for the film, The Gift is like, but it's better than whatever your mind came up with.

Of course, Young' s score is much more than this comically, crude description; however, it does provide a rough description of this score.  Christopher Young's talent for composing evocative, bone-chilling film music, is fairly well known now.  His career being really launched by his work for the Hellraiser films and then highlighted by his score for Species, Christopher Young added yet another darkly intense score to his portfolio only last year, with Bless the Child.  Now, in 2001, Young is poised to bolster his portfolio with yet another exceptional score in this film genre.

The first few moments of track 1, The Gift, are deceptive- as it is reminiscent of some of Young's other recent works with a long bass note serving as the backdrop for a few simple notes played on piano.  This only lasts a few moments; however, as the main theme soon moves in.  Images of the deep south are brought to mind as the strings gain in volume and the fiddle takes the lead.  It becomes quite a disarming cue until its conclusion with wordless vocals and the same repeated bass note returns.

Track 2, Friend to Me, takes the main theme and brings it to another level.  Track 2 continues the southern feel, as the fiddle plays the title theme once again and is accompanied by heavy strings.   Unlike the opening track there are no haunting vocals or dark bass notes, and the theme is allowed to go to heights I simply did not expect for such a film.

The score begins to descend into more and more suspenseful musings as one progresses from one track to the next.  The violin and strings are cleverly employed to transition from the decidedly lighter music of the first two tracks, at the beginning of track 3, Use Your Instincts.  Only a few moments in; however, the score takes a clear turn.  The quaintness of the south is replaced by the eeriness of Cate Blanchett's gift.  Occasionally, though, the fiddle plays the first few notes of the main theme.  Things continue rather ominously through the next six tracks as there is only occasional melody placed among sustained strings, solo piano melodies, jazz chords, disconcerting, winding strings, steel guitars, and violin notes.  The intensity reaches its frightful peek in track 9, Clear Sensing, before taking a turn back a restating of the main theme and its more comforting tone.

This brings us to track 10, Empathy.  This is, by far, the best track.  It is the longest (7:15) and is based around  the beautiful main theme.  The theme is first played by the violin and slowly builds to a powerful performance of the entire Northwest Sinfonia.  The track quiets with a long sustained note in the background, slowly fading itself,  as the violin repeats the main theme and winds the score down to a most satisfactory conclusion.  I can easily make the statement that this piece is the best I've heard from Christopher Young to date!  It is one you simply can't  forget.

While Christopher Young has  proven most versatile in his bag of compositional styles with jazz, latin, and hip-hop influenced scores (The Hurricane, Judas Kiss, In Too Deep), he continues to demonstrate that when it comes to the darker side of film music, he is masterful.  What sets The Gift apart from all of his other scores within this genre is, actually, the unexpected lighter elements.  Christopher Young fan's will certainly applaude this effort while, those who may not be big horror film music fans, will find tracks 2 and 10, well worth the investment alone.

 

 


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

Rating

1 The Gift 2:43  ****
2 Friend to Me 3:45  *****
3 Use Your Instincts 4:47  ***
4 Without Words 2:09  ****
5 Psychic Attack 5:37  ***
6 Predictions 6:05  ***
7 Blue Diamond 2:31  ***
8 Cryptomnesia 4:39  ***
9 Clear Sensing 5:09  ***
10 Empathy Sound Clip 7:15  *****
 

Total Running Time

44:40  

 

 

 

 


All artwork from The Gift is exclusive property of Will Records (c) 2001.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.
 Its appearance is for informational purposes only. Review format version 5

 

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