Composer Laurent Eyquem
first came to my notice with his highly melodic score for COPPERHEAD which was released earlier this year on Varese Sarabande, after looking a little closer at the composer I found out he had in fact scored a number of movies and on listening to samples from a few of them I was pleasantly surprised that a composer who had not really been working in film for a long time was capable of creating so many varied and beautiful melodies which he intertwined with dramatic and exciting musical passages. One movie in particular seemed to stand out to me it was WINNIE which the composer scored about two years ago, this is a bio-pic about Winnie Mandela
, and starred Terrence Howard and the ever popular Jennifer Hudson in the title role, Hudson also performed the title song, BLEED FOR LOVE which was written by legendary lyricist Diane Warren and arranged by Eyquem. The score will I am pleased to say be released on September 6th by RCA records to coincide with the movies U.S. release, the title now being WINNIE MANDELA, When writing the score Laurent went to the Mandela family and was granted permission to utilize the world famous and respected Soweto Gospel Choir in Johannesburg. His music is once again totally engrossing and stunning, it has a highly emotive sound to it which is created by the composers use of strings and choir which are enhanced further by woodwind and brass which have a kind of Barry-esque aura to them, they create a sound of solitude but at the same time have a warmth and emotion to them that is heartrending and attractive. This I think can be heard more prominently in track number 5, SOUND OF HOPE, faraway sounding horn begins the composition, at first it is a solitary sound but the addition of low but slowly building strings changes the atmosphere of the music, the composer bringing to the fore the string section whilst also introducing a brief but effective plaintive sounding wood instrument adding a touch of melancholy to the proceedings, the strings swell and grow to perform a rich and fuller sounding take of the central theme. Track number 6, ENCHANTMENT too is a highly emotive sounding piece, solo piano performing the central theme with support from strings, it has a sound that again radiates a feeling of tenderness and warmth, delicate woodwind is also utilized but fleetingly giving the composition a subtle and tantalizing atmosphere and style. Track number 9, DREAMS is also piano led, with at first a faint hint of strings and woodwind, but the piano melts into the background midway through as the strings become more prominent and bring the composition to its conclusion. Track 10, A WEDDING SONG is a combination of romantic strings which are enhanced by choir and have piano trickling through them, this is a piece that is far too short and one will find yourself returning to the beginning again and again and listening to it through.
This is also true of track number 12, ON THE RUN, although this does run for almost 4 minutes, sorrowful sounding cello opens the cue which is underlined by equally sad sounding strings, however the tempo picks up slightly as the composer introduces more strident sounding strings which are supported by percussion these gain momentum as the composition progresses and grows altering the atmosphere from sad to a more urgent and upbeat one, but still maintaining a melody at the same time. The score is an emotional one and filled with intricate, delicate and subtle nuances, which put me in mind of John Barry
and also at times James Horner
, it has a presence to it that is attractive and appealing but also has its fair share of more dramatic and darker moments. A score to be savored and also a score that I recommend. Look out for this one
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light