A History of Violence
Original Score

Composer: Howard Shore
Silva Screen
RRP: £13.99
SILCD 1194
Available 10 October 2005

Scoring close to 100 films and winning two Academy Awards for
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, Howard Shore is one of the major names working in film composing at the moment. His work for A History of Violence sees him, once again, collaborating with David Cronenberg...

Howard Shore has always been a composer I've been fond of. I first heard his music when I saw the 1986 version of The Fly.

To this day, my favourite of Shore's scores is for the 1988 movie Dead Ringers (which was released on a compilation album of David Cronenberg/Shore movies. But it was probably his soundtrack to 1991's Silence of the Lambs that saw him finally receive the recognition he rightly deserved. And Silva Screen's Music From the Lord of the Rings Trilogy showcased highlights from the three Lord of the Rings movies, which, on the whole, was a fair representation of the music from all three movies.

Now, I have to admit that I haven't actually seen A History of Violence, so I've no idea whether Shore's music did the film justice. However, what I can say is that as a stand alone album this work is pretty flat. I know the original graphic novels very well, and this music certainly didn't seem to do the story justice.

Could it be that Shore is losing his touch? It seems odd that after the wonderful score he did for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies that his score for King Kong has been quietly dropped for reasons neither the composer nor director want to comment on.

The first track on A History of Violence is not promising of things to come. It sounds like the orchestra is warming up before a big performance. The rest of the album only raises it's head about average. The biggest problem is that the tracks are all bland. There are no recognisable themes, or moments of passion. It's just bland wall to wall background music - like the type you'd expect in a cheap restaurant.

Even the final track, Ending, is dull and emotionless. In fact, the only tracks of any real merit hark back to Shore's earlier work - Nice Gate has a distinct Silence of the Lambs flavour.

Sadly, for a movie that is based on a graphic novel series with so much soul, it's a shame that Shore's soundtrack lacks any.

Darren Rea

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