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Music from the Edge composed by John Corigliano performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin A superb (rejected) score from John Corigliano for the 2010 motion picture remake of the 1980's BritishTV-series Edge of Darkness, his 4th and it continues the impressive and individual line of his film music compositions. Corigliano's music is a breath of fresh air in the usually predictable Hollywood film music world, bridging the gap of concert hall type of writing and film scoring with excellence and sadly this music was rejected when the movie underwent extensive restructuring and re-edit and reshooting and Howard Shore was brought in to replace Corigliano as the composer. Luckily Perseverance Records came to the rescue and released Corigliano's original music, which really plays in some ways more like an extended concert piece in several movements than a movie score. Corigliano's approach for the score is of gentle and pensive lyricism mixed with challenging and slightly avant garde orchestral techniques for suspence and action sequences, producing a work of strong dramatic arc and architecture, creating a moody and ruminating musical world that envelopes the listener with alternating sections of emotional thematic writing and nervous bursts of suspenceful energy and aggression. The end result is as said above more akin to a concert work although the composer ties everything together with recurring thematic constructs of which the daughter's theme is the central one, both emotionally and structurally. As could be expected the orchestrations are extremely well crafted, the composer eschewing the trademark sounds of Hollywood for his own brand of style and sound, which at times can be challenging to some listeners as he (should I say deliberately) goes against the expectation and creates a consistent and unique musical world that is both beautiful and turbulently grating at the same time. Corigliano's style is very much in line with Elliot Goldenthal, his former student, and explores similarly fierce and inventive soundscapes. The London Metropolitan Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin himself does a terrific job translating Corigliano's music to a strong and soulful performance, soprano soloist Hila Plitman lending her talents to the finale of the score. The score opens with His Daughter's Death clarinet stating in bluish tones the daughter's theme underpinned by cellos and then transitioning to solo flute and strings, a picture of certain innocence and optimism, Corigliano showing again his gift for dramatic and memorable melodies, this perhaps even more direct than his themes for the Red Violin .The track showscases the two aspects of the score, the melodic and emotional and the challenging and abrasive avant garde well as the tranquil theme segues to foreboding suspence writing and robustly aggressive action on churning strings and brass. The action music is unrelenting, harsh and full of grating orchestral techniques, quite adventurous and different from most modern film scores, the sounds the symphony orchestra with a few electronic enhancements providing a visceral and fresh effect with off-kilter rhythms and staccato burts from strings and brass and batteries of percussion like in the Pursuit, conjuring a powerful sense of alarm, chaos and panic. This certain individualistic and self assured ignorance of modern scoring styles and norms is certainly refreshing and powerful in the age of often generic run of the mill products. This does not mean that Corigliano is unaware of the conventions of film scoring and eliciting emotion from the audience.These same nervous ideas provide in varying guises and dynamics suspence on other tracks like The Escape, Her Home, Her Friend's Death and latter part of Reflections, less driving yet still unnervingly effective. Revenge presents a furious build of dramatic energy at the end of the album, again exhibiting the composer's dramatic instinct and almost primal approach to scoring such material, the mood varying from roaring full orchestral assaults to gentle and ghostly calliope music and heart wrenching pathos and tragedy. Alongside the main theme and the abrasive action motifs, a calliope styled waltz music for the memories of the main character perhaps, appears on tracks Reflections, Revenge and Family Shave, wafting through the soundscape oddly melancholic, playful and sweet at the same time, solo violin adding a dreamy edge to the theme as he marries the daughter's theme with this new melody. There are several solemn or moody moments of reflection often led by the woodwinds, oboe and flutes in particular, and strings, Corigliano either writing elegiac or slightly apprehensive musical moments of subtle beauty and lyricism but also of foreboding like on the tracks Reflections, Her Home, Hideout and A Sober Story, all offering different degrees of above mentioned moods. The main theme for the daughter ties everything together. It is a simple melody but the composer uses it extremely well and inventively, the straightforward fragile emotionality of the idea highly effective in guiding the musical journey, providing a memorable musical center for the score. This theme appears throughout the album in many guises and forms and the soundtrack ends with Reunification a haunting and touchingly beautiful elegy for orchestra and soprano soloist, Corigliano developing the theme here to the fullest, the soloist Hila Plitman expressing a salvatory end to the generally dark and moody musical journey in a strikingly powerful way, the operatic human voice offering almost like a gentle blessing in the finale of the story. This piece is true testament to Mr. Corigliano's sensitivity and ability to convey the deeply poignant subtext of the ending of the film in the form he saw it contained. While it might feel overwrought for the movie in its final form on album it is a spectacular highlight. Music from the Edge is a very strong entry from John Corigliano, a score that is highly unique, visceral, emotional and intelligent. It could be said that it is music first and film score second, although the story of the film certainly lends the album and the score a powerful dramatic arc and impetus. In the time when most films receive formulaic and often generic musical accompaniment Corigliano dared to write a score of such musical character and individuality and it is truly a shame it was rejected in the end. But luckily we are still able to hear his visions for the Edge of Darkness through this excellent and engaging album. Definitely one of the best of the year. Highly recommended. Track list: 1 His Daughter's Death 4:11 2 Reflections 5:15 3 Her Home 3:22 4 Pursuit 3:45 5 Her Friend's Death 2:32 6 Hideout 1:54 7 Family Shave 2:30 8 A Sober Story 3:00 9 The Escape 2:03 10 Revenge 3:00 11 Reunification (Breathe In the Dawn) 6:34