Saturday, December 26, 2015

SOUNDTRACK REVIEW: Wolf Hall by Debbie Wiseman

Let me preface by saying that I am avid collector of soundtracks, but I don't necessarily watch the source film, TV series, or play the video game of the scores I often buy. I do reference the source material to get an idea of what to expect in the listening experience. And no matter how good the music might be, it is never enough to convince me to view (or play) the source material. 

I estimate about two-thirds of my soundtracks are for source material I have not seen. I base my selections and purchases on word-of-mouth, previous works of the artist, and curiosity. The biggest leap of faith I made was for CutThroat Island by John Debney. (Read my review here.) 

Debbie Wiseman is a name I came across nearly a decade ago. Those of us here in The States may not come across her name because she mostly does work in Europe. As a big fan of adventure and heroic scores, I took a chance at obtaining her soundtrack for Arsene Lupin(Read my review here.) I am grateful to the friend that introduced me to this score because it is immensely enjoyable! Today I own various selections by Wiseman including some lesser known compositions. 

I noticed that I tend to gravitate to her solemn compositions like Middletown. That is why I enjoyed the Wolf Hall soundtrack. Then I read the synopsis of the Wolf Hall miniseries and understood the setting of the series is in a dark, and tragic time. Made me even more interested in the soundtrack!

Wiseman has mesmerized me with her string work. Those familiar with me know I love string-heavy music. This score is predominately a string quartet so based on my bias, I already liked it. Its full of intrigue, tension, solitude, romance, and mystery. My kind of soundtrack! If I were to pick a single track from the album that capsulizes these emotions, it would perhaps be "Anna Regina". 

For a sample of a beautifully pensive, solemn track its "Angel Wings". But the tune that will definitely be stuck in your head is Cromwell's Theme. The soundtrack opens and closes with the theme while reprising it throughout the album. 

Truly worth a listening experience. Its no wonder the soundtrack has seen a lot of demand in the UK and, in some respects, here in the States. There, after all, a lot of BBC fans. 

I strongly recommend this score to anyone into period pieces, string-heavy, and a bit on the mysterious, solemn side. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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