- Composed by Bill Conti
- Intrada Special Collection Volume 139 / 2010 / 43:02
You may not have seen Cohen & Tate – few people have. The film was barely released on cinemas and is very hard to find on home video – but now there’s a soundtrack album. Few film composers have benefited more from the last decade’s explosion in limited edition soundtrack releases than Bill Conti, whose gross underrepresentation on album is now a thing of the past (at least for those happy to sit up through the night to buy the albums at the point of release, before the sold out – the irony is that despite the boom in releasing, very few of Conti’s scores are actually available to purchase since the limited editions have sold out). Best-known for his uplifting melodies and brightly-coloured adventures, in fact all these releases have shown just what a versatile film composer he has been – and Cohen & Tate is one of his darkest scores, a relentlessly aggressive action score with barely a moment of lightness until the baroque-styled end titles.
What’s interesting to me is that the film is (apparently) a very taut thriller where claustrophobia is key and Conti manages to create the perfect tone for it with a (reasonably) big orchestra, something rarely done since the days of Herrmann and Hitchcock – popular opinion being that big and symphonic isn’t the way to go. The composer proves that, with skill, it can be done with aplomb – the music isn’t subtle, but is very effective, with swirling strings offering a sense of suffocation and the energy and drive coming mostly from pounding jabs at the low end of a piano. The score is melodic, but for once with Conti those melodies aren’t really what counts – it’s his skill at creating an atmosphere and using every trick in the book to create energy and excitement in the darkest of circumstances. Few scores this bleak make for satisfying albums, but this is one that certainly does. *** 1/2