River Queen.

river_queen_383272Karl Jenkins is probably one of the most respected and highly regarded composers of classical music today, his THE ARMED MAN – A MASS FOR PEACE has to date been performed 200 times in the UK alone during the past 18 months and the CD release achieved Gold disc status within the UK. His REQUIEM also went to No 1 in the UK classical charts. In 2005 he was awarded the OBE by Her Majesty the Queen and in 2006 was made a Doctor of music by the University of Wales. This is the composer’s first work for the cinema, and I am positive that it will certainly not be his last. RIVER QUEEN is set in NEW ZEALAND in the 1870s, it tells the story of Sara O’Brien (Samantha Morton) who has grown up among the soldiers who guard the frontier on the Te Awa Nui-The Great river. She becomes pregnant by a Maori boy and gives birth to a son, the story then jumps forward seven years and her child BOY is kidnapped by his Maori Grandfather. Sarah is abandoned and shunned by her soldier Father (Stephen Rea) so she turns to Doyle (Keifer Sutherland) for help. The music is mainly orchestral, but the composer also utilises choir and wordless female vocal. Jenkins also incorporates DANNY BOY within his score, creating a Gaelic sound which he then builds upon with his own original and unique sounding themes. I am loathed to try and compare this with any other scores, but if I was pressed to do so I would have to say that RIVER QUEEN is a fusion of styles that maybe were reminiscent of THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS but also there is a sound to this score that is vaguely evocative of Morricone’s THE MISSION and QUIEMADA in sections, it is lush, poignant, romantic, dramatic, diverse and above all is a fine example of quality film music. Highly recommended, miss this one and you will regret it.

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