THE MAID’S ROOM.(liner notes).

Available on Kronos records august 2014.


THE MAIDS ROOM is a richly dark and intense physiological thriller which is set in the affluent area of the east end of Long Island, where the movie was actually filmed. It centres on an attractive Latina immigrant who is as intelligent as she is beautiful. Drina takes a job as a live in maid at the home of the Crawfords who are a well heeled New York family that have a summer home in the Hamptons. The Father and Mother of the family spend much of their time away in the city leaving their son Brandon who is about to start at University at their luxurious summer home. Drina,s duties as live in maid include taking care of Brandon and his pampered friends. Drina’s room is next to the garage in the house and one night she cant help but notice that Brandon returns home worse for the influences of alcohol. The next day she notices that Brandon’s car has damage to it and also has traces of blood on the bodywork. After seeing the local newspaper where a fatal hit and run collision is reported Drina begins to realize that it is Brandon who is responsible. She knows that the Crawfords will literally do anything to protect their spoiled offspring and soon wakes up to the fact that she now has for once the upper hand over her employees. However the scenario that unfolds becomes more and more dangerous for her. This is a tense and intelligent thriller that explores the complex relationships that develop between truth and justice and also the influences of affluence and power. Directed and written by Michael Walker, who had apparently begun work on the storyline some twenty years previous.


The musical score which is at times as dark and also broodingly tense and unsettling as the storyline itself is the work of composer Arturo Rodriguez. The music works on many levels within the movie as the composer provides the film with some beautifully haunting themes that are delicate and emotive, but at the same time these have within them an atmosphere of tension and mystery. Born in Monterrey, México, the composer’s musical studies began at the School of Music of the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, and later continued at the National Music Conservatory of México, Texas Christian University, and Butler University. He was selected as a participant for the ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in Hollywood, CA in 2003 and the 11th New York University Composer’s Seminar also in 2003. Some of his academic and professional influences include pianists José Feghali and Panayis Lyras the conductor Stanley DeRusha, and composers such as Blas Emilio Atehortúa, John Corigliano, and Richard Bellis.

He has acted as orchestrator and also as conductor for numerous film and media projects these include, ASSASSINS CREED IV BLACK FLAG-FREEDOM CITY, THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK, DOS, ELEMENTAL and THE KIDS GROW UP.

THE MAIDS ROOM is an accomplished and polished work which works so well with the images on screen but also has the ability to stand alone as just music to be listened to savoured and enjoyed. Rodriguez is almost lulling the listener into a false sense of security and well being with his richly emotive theme for Drina with its delicate piano solo and plaintive woodwind that are punctuated by harp, the music radiates an even greater warmth as the string section are ushered into the piece but still retains a fragility that is mesmerising.


This central theme is heard throughout the score either fleetingly or in more sustained arrangements and becomes not just the theme that accompanies the films central character but also the foundation of the score. The composer weaves his simple but effective motif for Drina into the fabric of the score and it acts like a musical adhesive that binds the remainder of the soundtrack together. This I hope will be the first of many soundtracks penned by Arturo Rodriguez to be released, his talent is immense and his gift for melody is outstanding.

arturo 2



NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON is based upon the novel of the same name by Peter Bieri who wrote the book under the alias of Pascal Mercier in 2004. The book became one of the popular novels to be published in Germany and is a now a motion picture starring Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Christopher Lee, Tom Courtney and Lena Olin to name but a handful of its impressive cast list who are all guided by the acclaimed film maker Billie August. The music is by German born composer Annette Focks who has been involved on numerous motion pictures and Television projects. In a profession that is dominated by the male gender Focks has made a name for herself as a composer who consistently produces music of high quality and also has the ability to adapt to any genre. For NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON the composer presents us with a score that is filled to overflowing with emotive and poignant tone poems, heart breaking and alluring themes and when necessary cues that are dissonant and darker in sound and content. |There are also a number of cues that although more ominous sounding still manage to retain some thematic properties, but it is the melodic and wonderful musicality of this work that shines through directly one press’s the play button on the Compact disc player, the use of melancholic solo piano and underlying strings that are subdued but delicately effective immediately grabs the listeners attention. The score has accomplished and haunting solo performances on piano, cello, violin and also guitar and trumpet, which appear throughout the work as either solo performances or are combined in various permutations to create some stunning and moving musical moments. Focks also makes effective use of timpani and percussion which when combined with strident sounding strings and edgy brass punctuation is stirring and effectual. The delicate piano performance I would say is the core of the work, the composer creating the focal point of the soundtrack on the instrument and then introducing various other instrumentation along the way that further enhances and adds greater depth and emotional impact to the proceedings. This is a touching and hauntingly attractive soundtrack and if you have not already been introduced to the music of Annette Focks this would be a perfect way to become acquainted with her mesmerising and accomplished style.