- Composed by Victor Reyes
- MovieScore Media / 2014 / 32m
A Hitchcockian thriller, Grand Piano stars Elijah Wood as a concert pianist who returns to the stage after years of ridicule following a failed performance after terrible stage fright, starts playing a new concerto, only to find a note attached to the music to tell him that a sniper’s rifle is trained on him and should he fluff a note or stop playing, he will be shot. The film wasn’t received all that well, but one aspect of considerable note is its original score by Victor Reyes. The five-track album is bookended by a couple of relatively brief (but memorable) pieces. The opening title piece is the only thing on the album that sounds like film music – it starts off like a more contemporary version of Ennio Morricone’s famous aggressive opening to The Untouchables, stabbing staccato notes on (what else?) the piano taking the lead. The closing “La Cinquette” (co-composed by Reyes and Eugenio Mira) is an incredibly technically challenging piece (it is intended to sound very difficult to play – indeed, the film claims it is unplayable, though the fact that it’s here on the album suggests otherwise) – and is very impressive, almost unbelievably frenetic.
The centrepiece of the score and album and indeed film is the three-movement 27-minute concerto penned by Reyes – the one Wood’s character has to play in the film. Of course, one has to mention that there is a large degree of pastiche here – Rachmaninov sprung to my mind, but I’m sure less ignorant people will be more accurate – but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the music, in turns romantic, dramatic, intense. The thing is, the music isn’t just serving as the performance piece – it’s serving as dramatic underscore. It twists and turns along with the film, on the journey with the character while at the same time serving perfectly as a piece of absolute music, a believable piano concerto. And it’s incredibly enjoyable: sweeping, flamboyant, beautifully played. This is some achievement by Victor Reyes who is to be congratulated for making it work so well. Grand Piano is an essential purchase.