Writing music for film is I think probably a hard task; all the timings have to be just so and the music obviously has to enhance the movie without being overpowering. So scoring a silent movie must be even more difficult. I say this because of the amount of music that will be required. After all, music in a silent movie has to do more than enhance, it has to be part of the dialogue (that is not there) or it becomes the dialogue in effect. It is the romance, the comedy and also it is the timing and the punctuation for the film up on the screen. THE ARTIST is taking the cinema-going world by storm, it is a black and white silent movie made in France which has received many nominations and also lifted a few major prizes in this the Awards season for movies released in 2011. The musical score is by gifted French composer Ludovic Bource whose score is, in one word, amazing – add to that, delightful, exciting and emotive and you have the perfect ingredients for a great film score. It is an almost luxurious sounding work which harkens back to the days when a full orchestra would be seated in the pit playing the musical accompaniment to many a silent classic. Flickering images and dramatic music made for a great time in the theatres way back then. Bource has created a soundtrack that although almost continuous is not in any way overbearing or intrusive, in fact you sit and watch the movie and are really not that conscious of the music because this talented composer has managed to score the film in a way that the music is, or could be, another actor playing out their part to the watching audience. There is a particularly lovely theme included which is track number nine, “Comme una Rose Larmes – solo piano picks out a plaintive and delicately emotive theme which is hauntingly beautiful with touches of melancholy. I was particularly impressed with the opening track of the movie. “Russia
1927”, a near four minute cue full of drama and energy, played at the opening of the movie. The scene is set in a theatre where a movie is being screened, full orchestra is seen performing the music as the film is shown to the delight of the audience, Bource manages to cram many types and styles of music into this four minutes but it just flows and works so well. It is a stylish and entertaining composition, brass and strings being the main stay of the piece as the on-screen hero escapes the clutches of a dastardly and evil villain with the help of his fearless and faithful dog and accompanied by his leading lady.
It really is a wonderful marriage of image and music. Track five is also a highlight for me, “Silent Rumble” is text book film scoring from a bygone age, dramatic, fast paced and also full of vigour. The composer has also written some wonderful melodic material for the movie and track six “1929”, is an example of such writing. Although short lived it is an impressive and lingering melody, performed foremost by woodwind which are enhanced by subtle use of strings and more woods, a pleasing theme which is far too brief. This is an excellent score and I for one do hope that Bource will soon be stepping up to collect more awards, The BAFTA maybe and then the Oscar. Bravo Maestro Bource. Chaque note est le lieu avec soin et amour, et la musique est le cœur de L‘ARTISTE.