A Dangerous Method/Howard Shore/Lang Lang
October 29, 2011
A historical film that takes place in the early part of the 20th century this picture deals with the relationship between Karl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein. The David Cronenberg film stars Michael Fassbender (Karl Jung), Viggo Mortensen (Sigmund Freud) and Keira Knightley (Sabina Spielrein). Set for release on November 23rd.The Howard Shore score deals very closely with the work of Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll.” Shore has created a very heavy Germanic sound. It incorporates the Idyll melody as well as two original themes. The highlight of the soundtrack is a thirty one minute solo piano rendition of the “Siegfried Idyll” which later became the core theme for his third entry into his 4 Ring Opera cycle.
Burgholzi (1:20) immediately offers the main theme from the piano a ten note motif that is repeated by the orchestra with an arrangement that mimics a Wagner opera. It is very loud, tonal, with brass motifs and swirling strings. The average listener would think it was taken from a classical work.
Miss Spielrein (1:36) is a different variation of the main theme with soft yearning strings and an overall eerie feeling. The tension is still quite high.
Galvanometer (1:03) enters the piano with quiet harmonic chords. It is still a continuing part of the first two cues.
Carriage (1:07) the main theme is repeated again starting with the piano and then the orchestra immediately takes over in a yearning version.
He’s Very Persuasive (2:13) begins with the main theme again and quickly gives way to a major key offering with the strings bursting through the clouds with a happy joyous moment.
Sabina (0:56) is a flute statement followed by another variation of the main theme.
Otto Gross (2:47) is very classical with powerful chords from the piano complemented by dark yearning strings, Beethoven like and a re-statement of the main theme with the piano very dark. Very classical cue. This sounds like and audio clip from a symphonic work.
A Boat With Red Sails (1:01) romantic piano and a statement from the oboe.
Siegfried (1:00) the first time we hear the Wagner theme performed on solo piano. Nothing complicated here just simple chords.
Freedom (1:12) this is a repeat of the galvanometer theme with Beethoven chords from the orchestra, the ever present piano and an overall yearning from the orchestra.
End of the Affair (1:05) an oboe offering of the main theme opens the track followed by a solo violin repeating the theme.
Letters (2:21) is a new offering from the piano; more harmony than a tonal theme. This is a definite mood setter and toward the end of the track we hear a repeat of the main theme with more yearning from the piano/orchestra.
Vienna (1:08) is a brief new theme followed by underscore.
Only One God (2:26) offers a majestic Bruckner horn fanfare as we hear a simple chord procession from the woodwinds and long continuous notes from the strings. The brass and strings become louder and then quietly fade.
Something Unforgivable (2:50) the Siegfried theme is offered by the solo piano which gives way to the string section who repeat the theme. The coda is a majestic religious statement from the orchestra.
Reflections (5:54) we hear a full on orchestral version of the galvanometer theme very Wagner. At nearly six minutes it is allowed to develop into a piano statement which is a variation of the main theme yearning and thought provoking. It ends with the Siegfried theme.
Siegfried Idyll (3:58) performed by Lang Lang is half of the soundtrack a very beautiful but very slow developing work. Absent are the complicated technical chords one would hear from Rachmaninoff. The playing is soft and delicate and Lang Lang certainly did his homework. Included is a reference ever so slight to the first four notes of the Beethoven 5th symphony about halfway through. I found that by the time he got to the end he had really drawn out the track. I was ready to listen to something else but it is a work that I’ll revisit.
This is not a score for everyone. For one to get maximum enjoyment out of this soundtrack it is important that you like classical and solo piano music. The Wagner influence is deep and Shore calls upon the German sound heavily. I found that repeated listens enhance the listening experience. The digital engineering is superb and I love the tone of the piano and the playing of Lang Lang.