Based on the novel THE GIRL FROM ANTWERP, this Slovakian/Czechoslovakian co-production is a movie that relates to us the real horrors of the Holocaust and also tells the story of a loving relationship that develops despite the horrors that are being committed within the confines of Auschwitz. The music is by Atli Örvarsson who recently completed scoring MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, many collectors have questioned the merits of as a Örvarsson composer of film scores, but I have seen or at least heard things within his music that have made me stop and think and even go back and listen again, and I think that he is a very talented and more importantly a highly original composer. I must admit however that COLETTE is somewhat different from the normal musical style that we expect from the composer, this is a score that is quite lush in its style and orchestration, it relies quite heavily upon the string section of the orchestra and the composer has written one of the most haunting and appealing love themes for this score. The compact disc opens with the main theme from the movie and this is breathtaking, it contains a full and romantic central theme which opens in a fairly subdued and even is a little apprehensive, but as the music begins to develop and the composition stats to grow, the composer utilizes the string section, which is supported by piano and also harp, strings then provide a mid tempo background to plaintive piano and pensive woodwinds that develop the central theme even more and then pass it back to the string section for a delicate and low key working, which brings the opening cue to its close. Track number 2, THE DIAMOND, is also a version of the central theme, but this time the composer approaches it with a slightly more subdued way, solo oboe is utilized, with low underlining strings providing a slightly dark sounding background, as the cue progresses, Örvarsson passes the piece to various sections of the orchestra, but all the time maintaining a low key and rather subdued persona. The theme is there and it builds slowly and gradually but never really reaches a climax, strings take on the theme once again and add a certain luxurious sound to the proceedings. The first time we hear a more forceful and dramatic line of scoring is in track number 3, WORK SHOP OF EVIL, employs strident strings and percussion to great effect, the composer again gradually building his composition and adding level upon level of tension via strings that are supported by various percussive elements and martial sounding timpani. Track number 4, MERCI MON AMOUR, is a further working or arrangement of the scores central theme, on this occasion it seems a little more romantic and emotive with harp punctuating strings and also woods in a delicate and affecting version of the theme.
Track 5, CREMATORIUM, is a darker piece all together, ominous sounding strings that are intertwined with sparse use of woodwind, create a daunting and somewhat uncomfortable atmosphere, rumbling percussion acts as a background to strings to create an almost foreboding or fearful sounding composition. Track number 7, FREE AS A BIRD, is at first a heart warming and highly romantic sounding cue, again strings and piano are the mainstay of the piece, which is brief but effective, and although short lived it alters mood midway through and the atmosphere changes from a light near happy one to a more threatening or hopeless sounding ambiance. Track number 8, PRAYING FOR WILLIE is an emotive musical journey which radiates a melancholy and also a sound that seems to say hopeless and maybe forgotten, piano performs a slightly fragmented version of the central theme, underscored by low strings, solo violin is then brought into the mix accompanied by oboe and given support from strings, this is a bitter sweet sounding piece that is probably my favourite cue from the score. Overall I have to say that COLETTE is probably the best Atli Örvarsson score I have heard, it is powerful because it contains so much emotion and also is filled with drama and passion. Please do not miss out on this release. Recommended totally. Available on movie score media/kronos.