Various Artists
Album: Children of Men

Released: 12 December 2006
Label: Varese Sarabande

Children of Men
While the composers in the sub-genre of orchestral-based textural music seem unable to suspend time in their works as well as the best artists in electronic sound do, their music does possess a harmonic complexity and emotional immediacy only nascent in more ambient contemporary works. The soundtrack to Alfonso Cuaron's film Children of Men (70'32") has as its centerpiece the commissioned "Fragments of a Prayer" by John Tavener. This, along with several other Tavener compositions, is a powerful musical counterpoint to the motion picture, as well as a beautiful and separate entity away from the imagery it was designed to accompany. This soundtrack has a distinctive way of working its way into scenes. Tavener's moving works of hope seem ironic in this bleak futuristic sci-fi film. With themes based in nihilism and hopelessness, Children of Men has ingeniously been scored with a music based on the certitude of faith. Incorporating heavenly choir, reverberant pipe organ, atmospheric string ensemble and a solo voice that seems to speak for all humanity, this music offers a unique sonic consonance and a tenderness reserved for our most intimate moments. This CD also includes music by Handel, Mahler (and there is also a more rock influenced coinciding companion CD) and Krzysztof Penderecki, whose "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" was used with amazing effect to score the intensity of urban warfare. This meditative work truly augmented the broken cityscape, the desperate attack and the doomed future portrayed in this action driven battle scene. Children of Men contains excellent examples of contemporary classical music and is a bold statement on rising above conventional and predictable soundtrack music. Will these works come to be an elegy for mankind? A coda to our way of life? Or the prelude to a new and better era? While most music heard on STAR'S END questions our place in the cosmos, this soundtrack asks us to look within our hearts and find a place for the universe inside ourselves.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   1 February 2007

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