Out Of The Dark Room
The “post-classical” work of Max Richter was always going to be perfect for film soundtracks – his most famous composition, On The Nature of Daylight, continues to be an influence, for Richter (he’s re-used it as well as reinterpreting it, taking bits from it) across many of his own scores and it appears as a scene-setter in many films where Richter is not the primary composer. And his film work is vast – so vast in fact that this double-disc works merely as an introduction, a primer; it leaves out a lot of his very fine work – in some cases it skips five or six completed film scores as it jumps, chronologically, between the ‘big hits’.
But if anyone wanted to know what the deal was, or why to bother or where to start then Out of the Dark Room is a great place – several cuts from his wonderful Waltz With Bashir score, as well as some, in the scheme of things, lesser known pieces – his Disconnect score was wonderful, but I would have thought it wasn’t so high-profile, so nice to have some pieces from it here – given that it’s an example of Richter’s blending of electronics with gentle, solo piano and of his re-use of the Nature of Daylight.
A shame to not have the TV work represented – given how great his music to The Leftovers is – but Out of the Dark Room (even by title alone) reminds me of the great compilations that collected up Danny Elfman’s 80s and 90s film scores and some of his TV and advertising bits. We can no doubt expect a second volume of Richter’s film scores and maybe even a standalone TV highlight reel.
But to what is here – we have moving, lively pieces also from Wadjda, the ethereal waft of The Congress’ music and to close several thoughtful pieces from Testament of Youth. Even if you haven’t seen all of the films represented here (and I haven’t, yet) the music lives on in its own space, creates a space, a world of its own. That, in the end, is the very best thing that film score can do – besides being the right music for the right mood within the frames of the film. And Richter’s mastery of the form is worthy of study. This compilation selects many subtly dazzling/uplifting/spellbinding pieces (Love and Imagination from Testament, The Swimmer from Disconnect, Conversation from Wadjda, I Swam Out To Sea from Waltz with Bashir) and places them just so. Allows a whole new world to breathe through them – allowing these pieces to talk once again, to feel, to flow, to occupy a familiar, yet altogether new set of spaces.