Latest reviews of new albums:
  • Composed by Howard Shore
  • Howe Records / 2016 / 39m

Denial focuses on a legal trial in England in the late 1990s after “historian” David Irving, a Holocaust denier, sued Deborah Lipstadt for stating as much in a book.  (He lost.)  Written by David Hare and with a strong cast including Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Spall, Mick Jackson’s film has received decent reviews in its festival showings though doesn’t seem to be getting much of a wide release.  Howard Shore’s unsurprisingly serious and at times morose score sees the composer treading reasonably familiar ground but doing it very well.  The album actually opens with a very pleasant, summery piece “Atlanta 1994” which offers an energetic, choppy theme but soon goes into darker realms, with much dramatic intensity (I particularly like “The Steps” where a wordless voice is an unexpected addition to the orchestra of strings and winds).

Shore sometimes writes in multiple layers, strings seemingly veering in different directions before a resolution is found, which offers a sometimes slightly disconcerting feel which is really very effective.  And while, other than the occasional reprise of material from the opening cue, the mood is anything but light (this composer isn’t renowned for lightness at the best of times, let alone in a film like this) the music is always entirely listenable and engaging.  There are moments of almost harrowing drama (high strings, often accompanied by a lone reed; sometimes just a piano, such as the tortured loneliness of “A 1995 Pommard”) but never pushed too far, and the album travels along with surprising pace.  For “The Judgement” Shore manages to offer a noble resolution without a shred of triumphalism – impressive – and the main theme’s reappearance for the “Epilogue” is absolutely lovely.  Denial is not up there with the composer’s best but it’s a fine piece of work.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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  1. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Thursday 6 October, 2016 at 22:45

    Better than any of the Hobbit scores, eh? 😉

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Thursday 6 October, 2016 at 22:54

    More to my taste, certainly.

  3. mastadge (Reply) on Thursday 6 October, 2016 at 23:11

    It’s already gotten more spins than the Hobbit scores from me. Except for bits of the first one, maybe.

  4. Rob (Reply) on Friday 7 October, 2016 at 22:05

    Still waiting for your “Battle of the Five Armies” review. Not 5-stars like “Return of the King” but similarly saving the best for last.