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The Sound of Violet
  • Composed by Conrad Pope

Written and directed by Allen Wolf, The Sound of Violet concerns the relationship between an autistic man who believes the woman he is dating loves him – not realising that she is in fact a prostitute. They both see the potential in the relationship, but for wildly differing reasons. The score is by Conrad Pope, one of Hollywood’s most renowned orchestrators who also dabbles – disappointingly infrequently – as a composer, including on Wolf’s previous film In My Sleep. The opening cue of this, “Every Date is New”, is a beautifully elegant piece – a charming main theme heard in a sprightly piano solo with accompaniment from pizzicato strings and harp, it’s summery and charming. The early portion of the score continues in this vein – a joyful expression of falling in love, with feeling and energy and that lovely main theme never far away.

The jazzy feel to this music makes it very appealing – it has a similar sort of dainty attraction as something like John Williams’s Sabrina. We reach a turning point however in “Beneath the Surface”, in which some clever writing for winds in particular signals a distinct change in atmosphere; this is followed by “Violet’s Secret”, the stabbing piano textures of which could (taking the cue in isolation) be from a psychological horror score, but in the context of how they appear here in relationship to how the piano has been used earlier offer an ingenious way of expressing the musical twist. After this, the score takes on a much darker turn, including some delicious Herrmannesque strings which start to envelop you – the dramatic intention is clear, and well-executed. This all culminates in the desperate “Breaking Free”, with its oppressive emotional rollercoaster, before the main theme makes a welcome return in the following cue “True Love” and ushers in a succession of warm, rich music for what I presume is a happy ending. Pope is a very fine composer and this cleverly-constructed score is a fine demonstration of his skills as a musical dramatist.

Rating: *** 1/2

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