Composer of the month Polish composer month

Soundtrack review: La double vie de Veronique (Zbigniew Preisner – 1991)

 

“La double vie de Veronika” marks another collaboration between Zbigniew Preisner and his favorite director, Krzysztof Kieślowski. The film explores the themes of identity, love and human intuition through the characters of Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher.

This is an unusual score. The themes are few, but memorable. Everything sounds like it is played solo in a huge concert hall, there’s a sort of echo that gives this score a lonely sound. You could look at “La double vie de Veronique” as an opera in itself, with choirs, recurring motifs, multi part compositions.

My favorite theme is the haunting solo flute theme for Weronika. It’s developed all over the score, especially in the two Alexandre cues. It grips my heart and sends shivers down my spine. In the first of the three “Concerto en mi Instrumentation contemporaine” cues the flute is joined by a similarly lonely harp and I swear this duo sends me right to Moriconne’s Poverty theme from “Once upon a time in America”. In the second part the piano joins in and adds another layer to the haunting theme. You can tell it’s a film about music, because the score is rich, meaningful and I’m sure it plays a part as important as the actors in the movie.

The score also includes two concert compositions attributed to Van den Budenmayer, a fictitious 18th-century Dutch composer created by Preisner and Kieślowski, an alter ego of Preisner’s. The first one is a sorpano solo, piercing and incantation like. It sounds absolutely amazing. I’ve rarely felt operatic music so deep inside. To call them haunting is a gross understatement. The richness of this theme is unparalleled. I need some time to recover after such a moving piece. The second soprano solo is quieter, but the echo unmistakably sends you alone inside a cathedral. The theme is a different variation of the first one. They are introduced at the beginning and at the end of the score, and I am very curious to see how they fit with the movie.

If you enjoy piano or flute, listen to this one… if you enjoy opera, listen to this one… you don’t even have to like film music… this score transcends the genre. It’s a wonderful and haunting symphonic compositions, listen to this one. It will echo deep inside you and you will definitely feel it!

Cue rating: 94  / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 32 /32

Album excellence: 100%

 

Highlights:

Weronika

Veronique 1

Veronique 2

Tu viendras

L’ enfance

Van den Budenmayer Concerto en mi mineur(SBI 152)Version (1)

Solitude

Les Marionnettes

Transcription.Theme 1

L’enfance II

Alexandre

Alexandre II

Transcription.Theme 2

Concerto en mi Instrmentation contemporaine no 2

Concerto en mi Instrumentation contemporaine no 3

Concerto en mi Instrumentation contemporaine no I

Van den Budenmayer Concerto en mi mineur(SBI 152)Version de

Generique de fin

 

About the author

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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