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Soundtrack review: Dekalog (Zbigniew Preisner – 1987)

Composer of the month Polish composer month

Soundtrack review: Dekalog (Zbigniew Preisner – 1987)


I remember catching glimpses of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “Dekalog”  on TV when I was a kid. I wasn’t old enough to understand what it was about, but I have a clear memory of heavy, dark Polish spoken scenes that made quite an impression. I am no expecting anything joyful in this score. It is Zbigniew Preisner’s first score and I couldn’t let this month pass without writing about it.

As I listen to this score I am remembering Patrick Doyle’s first ever score, “Henry V”. It was a blast, exciting, interesting, and still one of my favorites from him. Preisner starts slower than that. I can clearly hear the seeds of his later wonders, but “Dekalog” didn’t grip me as tight as I hoped. I do love the unmistakable 80’s European TV drama melancholy and heaviness that it has…

“Dekalog V” seems to be the episode where the music finally reaches the depths I wanted to hear. I hear traces of Morriconne’s “La Piovra” in cues like “Dekalog V – part 1”, “part 6” is  desperate and “part 9” is very creepy and almost hard to hear, with its witch wailing sounds. The superb violin piece in “Dekalog VIII – part 1” is also among the hidden gems of this score.

What this score truly has going for it is the mood. The mood is well defined, cold and melancholic. This is achieved by repeating the same piano or woodwind motifs in a lot of cues. The motifs are simple but beautiful. They aren’t enough to make this a memorable score, but it is a must listen for any Preisner fan, because this is where it all began. His collaborations with Kieslowski are legendary and any collector should also hear this one.

Cue rating: 65 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 7 / 51

Album excellence: 13%







Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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