The Presence/Conrad Pope

October 4, 2011

Directed and written by Tom Provost, his first effort as a director stars Oscar winner Mira Sorvino who in a lonely cabin is confronted with a ghost who over time becomes more controlling causing her to act irrationally. Also starring Shane West as the ghost and Justin Kirk as the boyfriend this story/film leans more toward a ghost story as opposed to a horror/slasher/shocker situation.

Conrad Pope, like Hugo Friedhofer a golden age favorite of mine, is highly sought after as an orchestrator. He has orchestrated some of my favorite scores such as Sea Biscuit, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Rocketeer just to name a few. His IMDB listing is at 100 and growing as this review is being written. We can only hope that he will spend more time composing material for his own films.

“The Main Title” begins with a long low register chord; the bassoon offers a melody still backed by the ominous chord. The track ends with harps, flutes, and a sense of urgency. The end has a similar style to Signs. “First Night” offers the piano playing a quiet melancholy opening of simple chords. A clarinet offers a brief motif followed by flutes which is the introduction to a lush romantic section. The bassoon offers a short motif, one which we will hear again and the track ends with the eerie flutes like the main title. “The Outhouse” is a good example of how to create a scary underscore without having to resort to shrieking or slashing violins and loud distorted brass. It begins with a disturbing statement from the flutes, dissonant strings plucking, and that ever present bassoon motif. “Mr. Browman Arrives” features the flutes with violins plucking to enhance the track. “Outhouse at Night” starts off very quietly with harp and minor chords from the strings. Enter the flutes and a hornlike sounding fanfare from the bassoon. Suddenly there is a Dies Irae like motif from the orchestra with brass and an eerie statement from the violins. It ends on a very quiet note. “A Proposal shows the romantic side of Pope although the urgency of the flutes makes it presence felt. The strings and harp dominate this track until the bassoon offers the motif. “Whispers” reminded me of Ygor playing the blute in The Ghost of Frankenstein. It certainly adds to the eerie score. “Up the Stairs” is the bassoon offering more Edgar Allen Poe material with low minor chords from the strings and ominous notes from the harp. “Epiphany” is a dirge like cue with a long sad melody from the strings. “Confrontation” is one of the only tracks that offer a bit of loudness. The timpani plays a role and there is a bit of shrieking violins. Tension notes end the scary track from the strings. “Revelation” is a quiet somber beginning with a repeat of the tension motif from confrontation. The spiritual music returns conveying hope and love. “Journey Back/End Credits” is an ending on a quiet note. There is still the air of mystery with the plucked strings, Sign like flutes and tension with long low register chords. There is no happy upbeat ending.

The release of the soundtrack coincides with Lions Gate releasing of the DVD in the USA on 10-4-11. The digital recording is remarkably clear with crisps highs and firm bass. The bassoon was extremely well recorded. No distortion on this one at all. It is available from SAE in the US.

This is without question the horror soundtrack release of the year. It shows how effective subtlety can be. We are fortunate that MSM released this material to the soundtrack listener. If you read this Conrad this reviewer wants more. Highly recommended.
Track titles:
1 Main Title 1.47
2 First Night 3.00
3 The Outhouse 2.18
4 Mr. Browman Arrives 2.35
5 News Clipping 0.34
6 Dawn 2.51
7 Outhouse at Night 2.27
8 A Proposal 3.55
9 Whispers 1.12
10 Estrangement 1.07
11 Up the Stairs 4.35
12 Trapped 1.26
13 The Offer 1.29
14 Alienation 1.50
15 Epiphany 1.33
16 Let’s Have a Little Fun 1.44
17 Time to Act 0.58
18 Talking to the Dead 2.13
19 Confrontation 1.46
20 Revelation 3.26
21 Journey Back / End Credits 4.12

Total Time is 47:58

Screamworks SWR 11006


One Response to “The Presence/Conrad Pope”

  1. […] In My Sleep was a first composer release for MSM on their sister label Scream Works in 2009. The recent release of The Presence caught my attention and I immediately wanted to hear more. Yes this reviewer is a year behind but I am catching up! […]

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