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  1. Schindler's List Review of the Soundtrack Album by Mikko Ojala This was my first CD (along with The Lost World:Jurassic Park) back in the late 1990's and I have listened to it countless of times but the hushed respectful melodicism and on the other hand the raw emotion distilled by Williams into this singular work still makes my heart ache from the grief inherent in the music but also because of its sheer exquisite beauty. Itzhak Perlman's contribution as the solitary voice in the wilderness is immense as he conjures such sensitivity to his violin solos that range from anguish to solace, from sheer cold terror to heart warming pathos in a way it is hard to imagine Williams' music without it. No other soloist has ever come close to encapsulating the emotions of this music in such raw and refined way although the suite has been recorded countless times by many fine artists. Apart from the famous main theme and the secondary theme titled Remembrances that are most often mentioned by people for a good reason as much of the central pieces are built around these two wonderful sorrowful melodies, but the rest of the score is just as full of both cinematic and emotional power. Immolation is like a pained cry of dying souls, full of anguish and mourning, the cries of the chorus "With our lives we give life" in Hebrew haunting and terrifying at the same time. Schindler's Workforce is both suspenseful in its conspiratorial mood and every so subtly comedic as it underscores the understated defiance of Stern and the people he hires for Schindler's factory to save their lives in the film and contains superbly done allusions to Jewish musical idiom both in melody and orchestrations, the jauntily plodding rhythm effectively pacing the scene from start to finish and it works just as well on the album. There is heart breaking fragility to Stolen Memories where chorus softly laments the loss of not only lives but history as well, cruelly taken from these people and Making the List ebbs and flows full of meaning and dramatic significance, at times doom laden at times quietly triumphant in the best Williams fashion with great interplay with the main themes and really is one of the things people should be mentioning about this score as a highlight among highlights. I do not know what part of his soul Williams pulled some of this music from as it seems to come out of nowhere when looking back at his career. To me Auschwitz-Birkenau is probably some of the scariest music he has ever written, Perlman's solo is so malevolent, so cold and cruel it rends your innards with fear and lurching feeling of dread, especially when accompanied by the hellish churning, groaning lower reaches of the orchestra that thunder underneath. Jewish Town (Krakow Ghetto - Winter '41), a concert staple by now, is another completely unexpected piece which has such feeling of time and place and Jewish character to it, the suffering and perseverance but also such elegant beauty with Perlman's voice taking the narrative lead through the piece with the winding violin solo. Williams employs not only Perlman but also a famed Klezmer clarinetist Giora Feidman on the soundtrack for a brief part as he makes an appearance in the simply mesmerizing Oyfn Pripetshok and Nacht Aktion where after a children's chorus intones a Jiddish song by M.M. Warshawsky Feidman's smoky and exotic solo part over a droning background has a brilliant almost hypnotic quality to it. Give Me Your Names on the other hand is the soothing balm with gorgeous violin solo that weaves around the orchestra so full of comforting emotion as Williams combines main theme and Remembrances into one elegant whole. I Could Have Done More comes at midpoint through the album but is actually the emotional finale which starts quietly but turns into an emotional showcase for Perlman as the composer wrings every ounce of feeling from the orchestra and the soloist for this denouement where the main theme receives its most extensive and perhaps most resonant performances, the violin almost weeping at the end. And what could be a better finale for the album than the quiet small piano refrain of the main theme in Theme from Schindler's List (Reprise) that ends the experience on a tender but thoughtful note. The film is sparsely spotted but the album running little over 60 minutes is a perfect encapsulation of the score and again reminded me why, even though it is such a beautiful piece of music, I don't listen to it very often. It is because the score is such an emotionally taxing experience and the years seem not to have diminished its power over me. It is and will forever remain a classic to me and one of the lasting musical testimonies of the genius of John Williams.
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