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Hawk
  • Composed by Stuart Hancock
  • MovieScore Media / 2011 / 34:10

Hawk is a short fantasy film shot in Wales and based around Welsh folklore.  The music is by Stuart Hancock, a young British composer who has had a few of his scores released by MovieScore Media over the last couple of years.  The film is short and so is the score, but there is nothing small about its ambition.  Performed by a large orchestra and choir (the former Slovakian, the latter Welsh) and with certain stylistic similarities to Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings music, this is large-scale music.  It’s not particularly in-your-face stuff – don’t expect the equivalent of the Fellowship Theme or the folksy music for Hobbiton – Hancock instead concentrating on emotion and drawing inspiration from the beautiful landscape.  (Until the majestic end title, that is, which is exquisite – and certainly in-your-face!)

I imagine that there will be people who will be a little surprised by how subtle it is, especially given that both the PR for the score and indeed my own words above compare it with something as monumental as Lord of the Rings.  But I find there to be real beauty here – just as much emotional weight can be achieved from a solo harpist’s lament as can from a vast orchestra – indeed, some would argue that more can.  As with most fantasy scores, there is a dark side too – “Journey to the Underground” one of a few tracks which concentrate on creating an unsettling – but still strangely beautiful – soundscape.  The action music takes a while to arrive, but it’s worth the wait.  In common with most of the score, it’s quite intricately detailed.  This does mean that the music demands some work from the listener to fully appreciate it – I know that is something that some people don’t like, so if that’s you, then be warned.  Otherwise, I think this is a strong score which packs a lot into its brief running time and is well worth seeking out.  ****

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  1. Erik Woods (Reply) on Tuesday 26 April, 2011 at 19:59

    Wow! I’m shocked! I was utterly bored with this album. It finally awoke when the last track played but it was too little, too late. The most disturbing aspect of the score was that it was initially conceived as an expressive, thematic score that unfortunately tuned into a dull work concentrating more on texture and atmosphere. But, that’s were film music is heading so I shouldn’t be surprised that this trend is now working it’s way down into smaller, independent films.