12 January 2014

Wojciech Kilar - Bram Stoker's Dracula (Soundtrack)

First off, I'd like to give condolences to the family of Wojciech Kilar who sadly passed away on 29/12/2013 after a long illness.

As in the Conan blog, this is a review of the music. NOT the movie. Mind, I can sum up the movie in a nutshell - good, but with perhaps a bit too much style over substance, two of the three main leads acting atrociously, Anthony Hopkins bordering on genius and hack, and the disbelief of turning a horror story into some kind of gothic romance. Best bits were some decent enough action scenes and imagery, plus this very soundtrack. Also, Sadie Frost and Monica Bellucci get their tits out, always a bonus!

Released in 1992, the film did reasonably well with perhaps most criticism directed towards Keanu Reeves and the dodgy English accent he put on for the movie. The soundtrack did ok too, it scored a hit for the former-Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox with the song "Love Song For A Vampire". The song itself is very mournful, reciting a tale of a love lost too early and the wait for it to return in order to seek redemption. Which is pretty much the theme of the movie. It's a lovely song, which ties things up nicely at the end of the album. But it's the stuff before it that really hits the spot...

Composed by Wojciech Kilar and conducted by Anton Coppola, it marked the English debut for the Polish composer, having already composed in his homeland for both movies and orchestra in general. Research has failed to find out which orchestra he used to record this, but what a great soundtrack!

The scores on here verge from the soft and hard, but there is always an air of forboding underneath them. Even "Lucy's Party", with it's harps sounds like some bad vibes are going to go down any second. It's not all doom and gloom though, some of it is quite uplifting, such as "Ascension". "The Brides" threatens to start off doomy, but actually is more haunting if anything, capturing an air of sexual malevolance. The one thing that is noticable in some of the tunes on here is that there is a riff which seems repeated every few songs, This is obviously supposed to be Dracula's theme, same as how the main riff in "The Imperial March" was Darth Vader's in the Star Wars movies. It's a decent riff which perfectly sums up what he is (In the movie, at least) - a tormented soul who travelled a dark path due to a tragedy involving the one he loves. Ironicaly, also like Darth Vader if those shit Star Wars prequels are anything to go by. "Love Remembered" is another one - less doom and more reflection on the past with the hope of a better future. It's a beautiful tune, excellent. Best one, for me is "The Storm" - starts off with light tinkle-percussion at the start before launching into the utterly awesome score - bombastic in creating a shadow of the terrible malevolance that is yet to come.

So, as far as scores go, this is certainly a good one. I reckon you could listen to this without having watched the movie as the music can be enjoyed in it's own right. Good music is good music. However, say the next line in the worst English accent you can muster:

"I know where the BASTARD sleeps, I bought him there - to Carfax Abbey!"

9/10 - Almost perfect, almost.

Top Track: 'The Storm'.

This album is available on iTunes.

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Annie Lennox - Love Song For A Vampire.

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