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Decca Records (0028947661955)
Decca UK (0028947661955)
Movie | Released: 2007 | Film release: 2007 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
2.Robbie's Note3:04
3.Two Figures by a Fountain1:15
4.Cee, You and Tea2:25
5.With My Own Eyes4:40
7.Love Letters3:09
8.The Half Killed2:09
9.Rescue Me3:17
10.Elegy for Dunkirk4:15
11.Come Back4:28
13.The Cottage on the Beach3:24
15.Clair de Lune Debussy4:52
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Atonement - 09/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
I'm sure some of you wonder how come I'm so utterly hopeless when it comes to doing new reviews. Well, I'll let you into a little secret; most stuff that comes my way just doesn't really inspire me that much which, in turn, doesn't inspire me to write reviews. It's not even that things are especially awful, indeed writing a damning review can be quite therapeutic from time to time and crap knows I need a bit of therapy. Maybe I've turned into one of those miserable old bastards yearning (I am nearly 30 you know) for the kind of quality we routinely received from the past masters and there are few who seem able to fill their conductor's podium. However, after a nice old rant, I can finally report that a score has actually made me sit up and listen and Atonement is that score (quelle surprise). Dario Marianelli has had a rise in profile as quick as any other of recent times, culminating in an Oscar nomination for his gentle (and slightly underwhelming) effort for the 34325th filmed version of Pride & Prejudice. Atonement is an altogether more striking affair, but again aided by the pianistic skills of Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

At its opening, the score's most striking feature is the use of a typewriter as a percussion instrument, which sounds like a hideous gimmick, but works remarkably well, especially when paired with Marianelli's edgy and powerful string writing. Indeed this is very much a strings led score, almost nothing in the way of brass (with the notable exception of The Half Killed where the brass's impact is heightened by its previous absence) and woodwind used subtly to provide a little colour. Some especially gorgeous oboe writing is a highlight of Farewell. The chaps at FSM noted that modern composers seemingly shy away from woodwind, potentially due to their comic connotations, but nothing could be further from the truth here where the intense, reedy, woody tones are perfectly suited to Marianelli's melancholy writing. Thibaudet's piano is not as all pervading as it was in Pride & Prejudice, but in a score with no weak tracks, is still a highlight, notably Love Letters where it's paired against Caroline Dale's solo cello to anguished, yet ravishing effect.

If Atonement were just beautiful melodies and powerful drama, it would be enough to single it out in 2007 or any other year, but one final price of inspiration is the inclusion of the hymn Dear Lord and Master of Mankind as as counterpoint to the elegiac strings of Elegy for Dunkirk. It would be a fine inclusion if the strings merely backed the choir, but Marianelli writes it as though the hymn comes from nowhere and simply happens to be sung while his music is being played. It's a remarkable piece of musical sleight of hand. If there have to be quibbles then the score is a touch repetitive, but it's the kind of music that has enough depth and intensity to sustain it. You could never complain of there being a dull moment. Debussy's evergreen Clair de Lune closes the album; a fair way to conclude, if not essential. It might seem a strange thing to say, but Atonement is 'proper' music with structure, proper counterpoint (not just layers), enough invention to sound fresh and orchestrated with the clarity of a master (contrast with his score to The Brothers Grimm which sounds messy and unfocussed in comparison). If he maintains this kind of qualify, Marianelli is surely not too far off from his first Oscar win and all the success he clearly deserves.
Golden Globes: Best Original Score (Winner)
World Soundtrack Awards: Soundtrack Composer of the Year (Nominee)
World Soundtrack Awards: Best Original Soundtrack of the Year (Winner)
Oscars: Best Original Score (Winner) Awards: Best Original Score (Nominee)
The music of this soundtrack was used in:

Atonement (Trailer)


This soundtrack trailer contains music of:

Breathing Space, X-Ray Dog (Trailer)
Canis Rex 1: The Vesion, X-Ray Dog (Trailer)
Off Ramp, X-Ray Dog (Trailer)
Atonement (2007), Dario Marianelli (Trailer)

Other releases of Atonement (2007):

Atonement (2007)
Reviens-Moi (2008)

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