Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Eloquently Put - The Music of Carter Burwell

The first time I heard the name Carter Burwell was when my then fiancee said she wanted to walk down the aisle to Bella's Lullaby from the Twilight soundtrack. At first I had the whole dubious feeling about it, I didn't hate Twilight as some did but this seemed a big call. I played it once and never doubted again. Bella's Lullaby is a truly beautiful piece for solo piano and was perfect for the magical moment my bride walked down the aisle.

I have now learnt he is a highly successful film composer who has a particular relationship with the Coen Brothers, having scored all but one of their movies and contributing music to the one he didn't (O Brother Where Art Thou?). So I discover he is responsible for the suitably unnerving music for the uncomfortable masterpiece Barton Fink. Just listen to this track, Fade Out - End Titles, and you get an idea of the feel of the film.

Compare that to the opening of Fargo, which is grand against the stark landscape and uses percussion to introduce the sense of dread and menace. Or again the opening of Miller's Crossing, which I haven't seen, a piece that reminded me of the romance of Delius.

But possibly I like his 'simpler' stuff best. The small number of instruments playing intimate music, like Bella's Lullaby and this piece I just discovered, Lost Fur from Where the Wild Things Are.

Whatever he's doing though he does it with eloquence and beauty. His music is yet one more thing my wife has introduced me to and enriched my life with. Do me a favour, play Bella's Lullaby one more time and thank her for me.

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