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Soundtrack Review

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The History of Eternity
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Zbigniew Preisner
Label: Caldera Records
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Release Date: 02 April 2019

Caldera Records present Zbigniew Preisner's score for the 2014 motion picture The History of Eternity. Directed by Camilo Cavalcante, the movie tells three love stories. The focus is on three women: one of them is a teenager, the second one is in her 40s, while the last one is in her 60s. The male characters include a blind accordion player, an artist suffering from epilepsy and a rather pragmatic man more concerned with material goods. As two of the three main characters play musicians, it’s only natural that music becomes an integral part of the story...

Another Caldera release, which means yet another score that is a pleasure to spend time with. With his soundtrack for The History of Eternity, Zbigniew Preisner (Valley of Shadows) delivers music that Camilo Cavalcante, the film's director, describes as giving a taste of Eastern European melancholy to the film.

One of the key elements in the score is the use of guitar, which dovetails neatly with the film's narrative. It also leans on the strong culture Sertanejo music which is as popular and important in Brazil as Country music is regarded in the United States.

The album is made up of 24 tracks (52 min, 13 sec) and opens with the beautifully melancholic 'Main Title'. It's a wonderfully stripped down theme that is impactful mainly because of its simplicity. It's the sort of theme you can imagine being played by a full orchestra in a big Hollywood-style treatment and would lose none of its charm and simplicity. Its presentation reminded me of Stanley Myers's famous theme for The Deer Hunter. While it sounds very different, it's spirit and the feelings that it evokes are very similar.

As the score progresses, Preisner tentatively sets out his themes. Tracks like 'Moonrise' feel vulnerable and raw. It's like an unpolished work in progress that the composer is laying bare for all to hear. It's shaky and a little unsure of itself, but it's an incredibly heartfelt piece.

'The Hunt' offers a reworking of the 'Main Title' - a theme you'll never tire of hearing no matter how many ways it's presented.

There's not a wasted second of music here. The composer expertly weaves his themes (although you have to give Caldera credit for sorting them into a naturally fluid order that ensures that they build as the album progresses) to become an integral part of the movie experience, yet being strong enough to stand on their own two feet outside of the film.

The only slight downside is that there's no customary Caldera interview / audio commentary with the composer.

Another beautiful release from a record label that cares about soundtracks as much as the fans. This is yet another score I'll be revisiting for years to come.


Darren Rea

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