THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY.

 George Fenton’s score was released by Kronos records, but due to budget restrictions at time, the notes were unused.

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THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY (2006), is a masterpiece in film that is uncompromising and also realistic in its approach and appearance, set during the Irish war of independence and the subsequent Irish civil war, it focuses upon the brutality shown to the Irish people whether they be men, women or children by the Black and Tans who are a division of the British army stationed in Ireland to supposedly keep the peace. It also concentrates upon the relationship between two Brothers who find themselves on opposing sides in the fight for Irish freedom. THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY is like so many of director Ken Loach,s films and television productions a gritty down to earth look at life in Ireland during the early 1920,s. It is a time of unease and also uncertainty for the Irish people who have the British as their overlords. Damien O’Donovan played by actor Cillian Murphy is a recently graduated medical student, he plans to leave his native Ireland and the small village which he was born in and set off to London to start his carer as a doctor. This meets with much animosity from his Brother Teddy (Padraic Delaney) who’s loyalties lay firmly with the Irish loyalist’s and he believes that the British should be driven from his country and the Irish should be given the right to rule themselves. A friend of the Brothers and their family Peggy (Mary Riordan), visits them and whilst there witnesses the violent work of the Black and Tans first hand as she watches the brutal murder of her grandson by some of their number simply because the boy cannot speak English, and is only able to converses in Gaelic. Damien is sickened by what happens and his views are fundamentally altered because of it and with Teddy he joins the local division of the I R A, who themselves then use violence to attempt to drive the British out.  The musical score for the movie is by a long term collaborator and friend of the director, George Fenton. Born, George Richard Ian Howe on October 19th 1950 in England, Fenton has been responsible for numerous film soundtracks, television themes and scores and also has worked in the theatre and regularly conducts concerts of his music and has toured conducting his music for THE BLUE PLANET live directing the orchestra in front of an audience whilst the film plays, he also lectures and gives talks at various colleges and seminars. He first came to the attention of the wider audiences of cinema goers and also  to aficionados and collectors within the film music fraternity when he wrote the music for Richard Attenborough’s GHANDI (1982). He is a composer of immense talent and is able to adapt his musical skills to any genre of film.  One only has to take a glance at his impressive list of credits for film to see that Fenton has produced wonderful scores for movies and television projects which range from period dramas to comedies and also encompass horror’s and drama’s, with numerous romantic tales scattered along the way, as well as his award winning music for the wildlife television series of David Attenborough, as in BLUE PLANET and PLANET EARTH etc for the BBC. He has worked with many filmmakers and became the preferred composer of Sir Richard Attenborough working on films such as CRY FREEDOM, SHADOWLANDS and  IN LOVE AND WAR. Fenton began his musical career in 1971 when he wrote the score for a low budget independent movie entitled PRIVATE ROAD, after this in 1978 he wrote the music for a short film called THE WATERLOO BRIDGE HANDICAP, and it was at this point in his career that Fenton began to work steadily on short films, television dramas and series plus the odd feature film. In 1979 he provided the popular BBC television series SHOESTRING with its infectious sounding theme and also scored twelve episodes, in 1980 he also scored the ITV series FOX again providing the theme and scores for thirteen episodes. In 1983 he worked with director John Schlesinger on the drama AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD and in the same year scored another successful drama, SAIGON THE YEAR OF THE CAT for Director Stephen Frears. In 1984 Fenton was assigned to write the score for the television series, THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN, a mini series that ran for eight episodes and proved to be popular worldwide. Also in 1984 he collaborated with film maker Neil Jordan on the dark horror fantasy COMPANY OF WOLVES. Since the 1980,s Fenton has become one of the most sought after and popular composers of film music, he has worked on numerous box office hits and also at times has returned to his roots scoring smaller and more intimate productions for both the television and cinema. He also is in great demand in Hollywood and has a list of Stateside credits, including, GROUNDHOG DAY, YOU,VE GOT MAIL,  FOOLS GOLD, ANNA AND THE KING, EVER AFTER and THE BOUNTY HUNTER.  His score for THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, is fairly low key, but it is a dramatic, poignant and effecting soundtrack that enhances and supports without being intrusive and is a prime example of George Fenton’s precise and consistent talent in the field of film scoring.

 
KEN LOACH.

Born in Nuneaton Warwickshire on June 17th 1936, Ken Loach is probably one of the United Kingdoms most accomplished and respected film makers. Loach originally intended to study law and attended Oxford University with this in mind. However, he joined the Universities experimental theatre club and via this got a taste for acting and after a period of national service in the Royal Air Force he decided to start a career as an actor. At first this was in repertory theatre but he soon graduated from there and went on to start directing at the BBC in 1961. It was here that he formed a working partnership with producer Tony Garret, and it was at this time that Loach worked on a number of docu-dramas for the BBC all of which were produced by Garret. The most well known probably being CATHY COME HOME which was screened in 1965, this was a gritty and down to earth film that dealt with the problem of urban homelessness and the stigmas attached to it and also the failings of the so called welfare state in Britain at that time. This was probably one of the most outspoken and controversial films that has ever been produced by the BBC and even today remains contentious and forthright with its candid points and views, which Loach highlighted via his earthy and open way of directing. The film was so effecting that it caused the homelessness laws in the United Kingdom to be scrutinized and eventually changed. Three years later Loach entered into the world of the feature film and his first full length movie was POOR COW, the movie fused real down to earth day to day life and the realism of how things were in the 1960,s with new wave stylization and centred on the trials and hardships encountered by a woman who’s husband had been imprisoned. The film was an early outing for a very fresh faced Terence Stamp and it was this film that proved to be an early indicator to the style and format of what was to come from Loach. In 1970, Loach directed KES which has since attained something of a cult status worldwide and is considered by many to still be the film makers finest movie. It was a very matter of fact story but also had its lighter and more poignant interludes. It dealt with a young boy who was being treated as an outcast at school and who’s family were experiencing problems, all of these however became a background to a relationship that the boy builds with a young kestrel which he finds and trains. KES was an uncompromising and attractive movie which was also a picture of bleak actuality.

 
After the popularity and success of KES one would have thought that the directors career would have been launched into overdrive, but in fact his career began to suffer, this was mainly due to his films not being distributed widely enough and also because some of his television work, mainly his documentaries dealing with the miners strike of 1984 not being broadcast. So it was not until the decade of the nineties dawned that Loach began to find favour again, his first motion picture from that period was HIDDEN AGENDA (1990), this was a politically slanted thriller that was set in Northern Ireland. Although well thought of amongst critics and enjoyed by audiences the film came under fire from a number of conservatives who branded it for it’s strong leftist perspective, nevertheless the movie found favour almost every where else and was the winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes. Loach followed this with RIFF RAFF(1991) and RAINING STONES (1993) both of which were slightly humorous takes on working class politics and conflicts. Both films were winners of a number of awards and prizes.

 

 

j.mansell.

 

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