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Soundtrack review: The Brothers Karamazov (Bronislau Kaper – 1958)

Composer of the month Polish composer month

Soundtrack review: The Brothers Karamazov (Bronislau Kaper – 1958)

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After ”Quo Vadis” and “War and peace”, a third huge memorable novel gets a screen adaptation with a score written by a Polish composer. This time, it’s Dostoyevski’s “The Brothers Karamazov”. This is a novel I love and know very well. I have a clear image of how I’d like the themes to sound. I’ve seen this adaptation, starring Yul Brinner, and I really liked it. This score is from 1958 and marks my first review from that age. There’s also a FSM edition of the score which is almost 80 minutes long, with half an hour of bonus material.

The orchestration and sound of the score bears the sign of the times. As Ben Hur or other scores from the 50s, the music sends me right back to the times when I would watch old films on TV with my family. The sound has stuck with me.

The main title is Russian and heavy, just as it should be. The feeling doesn’t carry on to the rest of the score. I admit I may not be yet too well familiarized or in tune with the older scores, but “The Brothers Karamazov” didn’t really have a lot for me. It felt like a good background for scenes from the movie, but it also felt a little empty when heard out of context. I enjoyed the experience of listening to it, I loved traditional Russian sounding cues like “Mokroye” or dramatic compositions like “Parricide-Are you hurt-Pawnshop” and “Prison – Visit –Brandy”, but my point of reference for 50 or 60s scores is “Ben Hur” and this one is nowhere near…

The bonus tracks on the FSM edition where a very nice addition, because they are mostly traditional Russian songs.

Cue rating: 72 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 20 / 50

Album excellence: 40%

 

Highlights:

01 – Main Title

03 – Snow – Do You

09 – Where Is She – But Why – It’s Late – The Stable

12 – Parricide – Are You Hurt – Pawnshop

13 – Mokroye

17 – The End

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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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