Copperhead is due for release in the United States at the end of June 2013, and soon after this in the UK. This historical drama set in the days of the American Civil War should gain just a little bit of attraction and do well at the box office. It is the untold story of the American Civil War, it tells of the war away from the actual battles and of how the chaos and brutality of war affects families and communities, turning Brother against Brother and Father against Son. Based upon the brilliant novel by Harold Frederic, it is a first hand account of these events. The musical score for the picture is a delight, it is such an emotive and poignant work that it is impossible not to like it, absorb it, be engulfed by it and end up loving it. Composer Laurent Eyquem is a relative newcomer to the world of film scoring, although saying this he has written a number of scores for films that I suppose are lesser known among cinema goers, a number of them being produced in South Africa and dealing with true life occurrences including the biopic drama WINNIE which stars Jennifer Hudson in the title role as Winnie Mandela. Eyquem’s music was an integral and also a major component within these movies, the composer always producing strong and haunting works that not only supported but ingratiated the storylines and events unfolding upon the screen. His music for COPPERHEAD literally is overflowing with highly emotive themes and musical passages that can best be described as being lyrical and poetic in their style, construction and overall sound. The music once listened to will I am sure be returned to so many times, it is a rich and eloquent sounding score, which I think not only contains elements of what can be categorised as the Hollywood approach to film scoring, but it also has running through it a secondary sound that is most definitely European sounding having affiliations to the intimate and melodic style of composers John Barry,(for the graceful but effective woodwind and melancholy sounding horns), Zbignew Preisner (for woods again and an almost playful sounding ambience gained by the fusion of woods and strings) and Georges Delerue (for the ever present melodic atmosphere, via strings, harp and woods). There is also present an ethnicity of sound within a few of the cues that is obviously inspired by Irish or Gaelic flavoured quarters, these appear in the form of an up-tempo jig orientated cue and also there are times within the score where a violin or fiddle will be utilized performing a lilting melody that has Gaelic connections. The score is mainly a piano led work, by this I mean that the piano plays an important part within the score, in fact it is the central instrument or backbone of the soundtrack and it is either utilized as a solo unaccompanied instrument or introduces many of the cues laying down a musical foundation which is later joined, supported and underlined by melodious and lushly romantic strings, faraway sounding horns and plaintive woodwind. The sound achieved here by the composer is for me at least mesmerizing.
There are also a number of solo performances within the score that are delicate and at times heartrendingly beautiful played by violin, cello and woodwind which themselves are unassumingly punctuated by harp. These overwhelmingly poignant and emotive sounding compositions are haunting and extremely moving. The composer’s music is not only attractive and well written but it is also affecting and enriching. I hope that we will hear much, much more from this talented and versatile composer.