THE SHEPHERD.

COMING SOON FROM KRONOS RECORDS.

THE SHEPHERD.

(sleeve notes for the release).

By John Mansell© 2020. MMI.

THE COMPOSER. 

An accomplished, musician, orchestrator and composer Arthur Valentin Grosz was born in Hungary, he began to take an interest in music and started to play piano aged four years old. He also at this time started to create short compositions, he went on to receive a master’s degree in composition and teaching at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. His first recordings were studio albums where the composer created music that was looked upon as a fusion of the styles of both Vangelis and Kitaro. This style is more prevalent in his first album entitled THE LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN DEER which was released in 2001. He went onto release two more studio albums MISSIO and MISSIO ll. Which were a mix of Gregorian chant and pop infused styles. The popularity of the recordings led to the composer becoming involved with film scoring, his first assignment being in 2003, when he wrote the music for the movie CAPPRICIO, he has since then worked on numerous film scores and acted as arranger and orchestrator for other composers such as Andy Price on the UK TV series LAW AND ORDER. He has also worked with composers such as Patrick Doyle and Ennio Morricone.

THE FILM.

Directed by László Illés. THE SHEPHERD, features the acting talents of, Miklós Székely, Ákos Horváth, Tamás Jordán, and Jókai Ágnes. The movie is set in Hungary during the second world war, it is 1944, with the central character being an old shepherd, who lives alone on a farm. After his daughter is murdered by the Nazis and witnessing the horror of war close up, he decides in his grief and anger at the cruelty of the Germans to save as many Jewish lives as he possible can. The movie itself I feel tackles the subject of in each situation or scenario in times of war or disaster that there are always ordinary people who are prepared to help others and by doing so become extraordinary via their selfless actions. This is an emotive and gripping film, but is also a dark one, it opens in the calm of the countryside, with the central character of the shepherd taking his sheep to pasture, from the calm and serenity of his rural world we hear the sounds of war and conflict which are coming from a nearby woodland, the shepherd knows only too well these sounds and goes to investigate, he finds a young girl who has been raped and shot and is surrounded by dead bodies.

He tends to the girl and take her with him hoping he can save her life. The movie focuses upon the ravages and the pain of war but concentrates more upon the psychological effects felt by people rather than the physical. On watching the movie one does really become aware of the pain and the frustration of the characters involved, and their sadness and total devastation when they witness their loved ones being, assaulted, executed and abused by the cruel Nazi’s. The camera work is highly effective with scenes being filmed to display the actual pursuit or the desperate and sometimes unsuccessful attempts of individuals in their attempts to escape the unrelenting Nazi’s.

THE SCORE.

Arthur Valentin Grosz, has created a score that reflects the many emotions of the film’s storyline, it underlines only too well the sense of desperation, hopelessness and devastation felt by some of the characters and also supports and enhances the narrative of the film. The music is poignant and thematic in places with subtle and affecting musical interludes that become mesmerizing and haunting. The composer employs solo piano, cymbalom and a small string ensemble to fashion the score, he also utilises woodwind solos and violin to create an atmospheric and effective sound that works well with the images on screen and is just as appealing when listened to as just stand alone music, it has a folk sound about it, with interesting orchestration that makes it even more attractive. Giving a greater depth and adding a tense but hopeful persona to the proceedings. Although the score is at times low key, it still retains a powerful identity, with a driving and relentless heart at its core that radiates, ingratiates and provides a highly supportive background to the films harrowing storyline, it is mesmeric and alluring at times but remains darkly apprehensive.

John Mansell. Move Music International. (c) 2020.