Atonement/Dario Marianelli

December 28, 2007


atonement_4766195.gifDirected by Joe Wright of Pride and Prejudice fame and starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, the tragic romance is taken from the best selling novel of Ian McEwan who also was a co-producer. The love of two people is interrupted by an accusation of a third party of a crime that wasn’t committed. Arrested and then sent to the front in World War II, the tragic story of undying love is told. The third party goes onto fame and fortune as a writer but must live with what she did until atonement is achieved.


The very first thing that got my attention was the clicking of the typewriter (wish my computer monitor did that) and immediately trying to recognize what kind, having grown up them all of my life! Each typewriter had its own distinct sound and type recognition on the paper. Even the track-listing on the back of the CD used typewriter type, complete with key striking differences in ink density on the paper. A very nice touch! The typewriter is used as percussion in the score, appearing in “Briony”, “Cee, You and Tea”, “Farewell”, and “Come Back”. After a listen or two the minor annoyance became a positive and blended into the score nicely and just became a part of the soundtrack. The absolute highlight of this soundtrack was the wonderful but all too short “Love Letters” for Cello (Caroline Dale), and Piano (Jean-Yves Thibaudet) a true entry into the world of chamber music.  The unfortunate news is it ended up being used in the end titles. While the score was written primarily for strings and piano “The Half Killed” does offer some brass chords in an elegy. “Elegy for Dunkirk”, largo paced, has the Dunkirk choir slowly fading in with a singing of Dear Lord and Father of Mankind until it is the focus of attention and then it slowly fades out again. “Robbie’s Note” is a wonderful romantic theme beginning with the soulful clarinet followed by the cello and piano. It is written in the style of some of the golden age composers like Newman, Korngold, or Steiner. It is repeated in “The Cottage On The Beach” this time the solo piano starting, leading to the theme from the oboe before the English Chamber Strings carry the track to its conclusion. There is even a short but effective harmonica solo of the theme in “Farewell”. The other theme often heard first appears in “Briony”. It is an allegro moderato pace with distinct staccato like playing from the piano imitating the typewriter. The score concludes with a good performance of “Clair de Lune”, a standard Debussy piece by Thibaudet. It is delicately played during a sad time at Dunkirk, and well recorded with a realistic sound from the piano in the tradition of the DG/Vasary recording.One can only imagine the wonderful opportunity Dario was given with this tragic Romeo and Juliet type film. This reviewer’s hat goes off to Marinelli, Thibaudet, English Chamber Orchestra and all involved in this project. At the time of this writing it has won  a Golden Globe  for best score for 2007 and is nominated for the coveted Oscar.  It would certainly get my vote.   Highly recommended.



One Response to “Atonement/Dario Marianelli”

  1. md Says:

    it is totally awesome… My fave is elegy for dunkirk very touching… I wanted to cry… no question that it won in the oscars

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