Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hidden gem: "Half Light" by Brett Rosenberg

The sweeping melodies of Dario Marianelli's Pride and Prejudice meets the orchestral fidelity of John Williams' Hook in the soundtrack to Half Light (starring Demi Moore). The thriller film is already out in DVD in the United States, and is currently making the rounds in Europe. Its soundtrack, composed and conducted by Australian Brett Rosenberg in his feature-length film debut, is the 9th release of record label Movie Score Media, and--in my opinion--its best yet. Fortunately for us, the CD was released, though it took an online petition and hundreds of 'signatures.'

Movie Score Media called the Rosenberg’s score "Herrmann-esque" relating it to the finest of Hitchcock soundscapes. The label commented that the score is composed of "a lot of moody atmospheres that recalls some of Christopher Young’s finest genre works." Young, of course, has composed The Exorsism of Emily Rose and The Shipping News in this similar style (though the latter has Irish overtones). What struck me, though, were the beautiful themes in this soundtrack, as evidenced especially in the "Main Title" (and the "Lighthouse Vista"). This brings to mind Lizzie's theme from last year's Pride and Prejudice remake. For these melodies Rosenberg said that he "wanted it to sound warm, to give a sense of warm family life.” And it does. The intense sections of the score are also well-done, straying from the use of synthesizers in favor of broader orchestral pieces. Case in point: "Dreams and Drownings," "Drownings," and the creepy build-up of "Haunted."

My favorite cue from the soundtrack is "The Houdini" for its colorful one-three woodwind sequencing and brilliant undercurrent of instrumentation. The theme used here is also rather catchy, and reminded me that he does come from a pop background (his Father played for Nat Cole, Sinatra, and others). "Girl in the Storm" ends out the album (as the 29th track), and it is an easy bit of fiddling, reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

All in all, the soundtrack--recorded by 80 members of the London session players in the Air Lyndhurst Studios--is very good for this genre, and promises great things for the still-young Mr. Rosenberg.

My Rating: *** 1/2 (out of 5)

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