Saturday Soundtrack # 5
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Hollywood Records, 52 minutes, released only as a download
Based on a controversial book by Irish author John Boyne, published in January 2006, this 2008 British drama was directed by Mark Herman, who also wrote the screenplay. The music is by James Horner, who is one of my favorite composers of film music.
The music is gentle, moving, lovely, relying on the piano, gently accompanied by string-biased orchestra. The awakening of the friendship between Bruno and Shmuel is brought to life with a rising theme which is repeated later in the soundtrack as events in the film bring the boys together, but in a less innocent situation (Bruno has crawled under the fence and the boys go in search of Shmuel’s father).
This music is understated, so some may find it insufficiently thrilling. If you want a rousing, blasting, boom-boom-crash-bang soundtrack, look to Aliens vs. Predator or The Dark Knight. If you’d like something listenable, beautiful and moving this is your cup of tea. It has remarkable grace and power, and I think it one of the finest soundtracks written in the last decade. Whether you have seen, intend to see or will never see this film, the music is an absolute must have.
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Note: this soundtrack was released as a download only. I don’t happen to like that, at all, but I don’t make the decisions. I always like to have the package, the jewel case, the information booklet, the CD and it’s audio quality. Yet this will have to do. I suppose the move toward more portable devices, poorer fidelity as a tradeoff for convenience will continue this trend. I buy the CD whenever I can, the download when it’s the only option, as in this case. This is too good to miss because it’s only a download.