Review: Enduring Love
3.5 / 5 Stars
A recent Australian dramatic thriller, starring Daniel Craig, Enduring Love details an accidental death during a balloon trip and the strange obsession and stalking behavior which follows it. The music is composed by Jeremy Sams, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, wonderfully paints the scenarios from a placid opening through to the terrible descent into instability.
Opening with the serene, smooth string textures and lovely solo violin of "Balloon Music", the album is immediately pleasant and inviting. The strings draw out a recurring 3-note motif here, which is then heard on solo piano at the start of "Obsession", where it is also further expanded upon before strings and woodwinds join in hesitantly. The motif develops into an 8-note main theme through these sections in a subtle, worried manner. "Passacaglia – Working It Out" deepens the worry a bit, with mid-range strings hitting some troubling harmonic intervals, but all the while slowly gaining momentum. The track blossoms into a waltz-like tempo, with spiraling woodwind and string lines soon embellished by all sections of the orchestra. There is a strange tonality of a soaring melodic line being weighted down by darker material underneath, before a crescendo is reached, replaced by uneasy, high-range Herrmann-esque string textures and solo piano.
The troubled main theme returns in the harps, piano, violins and violas in "Obsessions 2", while "Pastorale" revisits the calmness of "Balloon Music". Piano and strings dominate "Moments of Hope", the main theme being the focus, though the tone is still one of worry, of a brittle optimism that could shatter in a heartbeat. The pace then increases through a rolling ostinato passed from flutes to piano and strings. The heady, rich waltz material from earlier is recapitulated in "Passacaglia 2 – Things Fall Apart", though instead of reaching a crescendo the music slows to a pensive mode. In the vein of amusing track titles such as "Obligatory Car Chase" from Elliot Goldenthal\'s Demolition Man, this album presents "Lonely Piano into Car Chase" and does just what it says. However, the second portion contains what could be the most unnerving car chase music composed, consisting solely of sickening, dissonant string textures.
The uneasiness continues into "The Nightmare Begins", with string and piano music to make the listener turn on the lights and check all the closets. The "lonely piano" material returns in "A Drunken Conversation with Myself", sketching out the fractured portrait of an abandoned soul, before strings glide in to flesh out the scene. The "lonely piano" melody is taken up by the cellos as the listener then hears this all surprisingly coalesce and grow into the "Passacaglia" waltz. Brittle, high-range, melancholy colors from earlier open "The Nightmare Continues", along with the main theme, but then the eerie dissonance emerges again. Measured, ominous suspense dominates "Swimming Music" (just what you do not want to hear while actually swimming) and then seethes in anger as the sickening close of "Lonely Piano into Car Chase" returns.
The second "Pastorale" is much like its counterpart, but carries further development for the achingly high-range, bittersweet violin solo. The lengthiest track is saved for the "Finale" and it charges out of the gate in a flurry of surging strings and piano, accented muted trumpets. A break propelled by pizzicato strings and bright woodwinds soon leads back into the surging material and on into sonorous, rich string lines. A harp ostinato innocently brings the track into murkier territories, but the track does not rest too long in any one place and builds again in excitement before closing with the serene material from the opening "Balloon Music". There is much to recommend in this score, though it is interesting how jarringly the tone can change from the pleasant to the unnerving. The final six minutes make for a marvelous climax and is worth checking out the album for.
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