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Soundtrack review: The third miracle (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 1999)

Composer of the month Polish composer month

Soundtrack review: The third miracle (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – 1999)

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“The Third Miracle” is a drama about a priest (Ed Harris) who is always sent to debunk miracle claims. It’s the 4th entry in our Polish composer month. I am surprised by how Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s score starts, because the first couple of cues, “Interrupted dream” and “Bystrica at war” sound African in influence. The instruments, the choir, everything makes me think of Africa.

Once the solo piano starts its reign, the score starts to feel right. It is unimposing, it doesn’t try to suggest to the listener what he should feel, and it lets you make up your own mind. The pious choirs I hear in cues like “Before your eyes” convey quite nicely the religious theme of the movie. They too sound innocent and not at all aggressive. “Prayer at the lake” is a beautiful and deep solo cello piece that feels like a prayer should.

With each new cue there’s one more new instrument to discover. “The third miracle” is a very diverse and interesting score, there’s no time to get bored or lose focus. “Domine Jesu” for example brings alongside the choir some South American strings. Yet all this variety doesn’t bother me one bit, I find it exciting and I can’t wait for what comes next.

For a movie with such a deep and controversial topic, the score does a great job of bringing joy to a serious subject, of not letting the mood get too somber. When there’s a need for that (the themes for the woman whose miracles the main character is sent to investigate), the strings take care of the mood, again in such a way that doesn’t steer the listener into taking any sides. Everything about this score sounds right. It is rich and dense, there’s a lot to take and appreciate from it.

“The third miracle” was a very enjoyable and rewarding listen. It felt alive and with such a difficult topic as religion and miracles, Kaczmarek managed to bring out the light and hope in it instead of focusing on the heaviness and burden. It’s pious without being imposing. There is a special sound to this score, and I invite you all to give it a listen.

 

Cue rating: 70 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 20/50

Album excellence: 39%

Highlights:

 

Prayer At The Lake

Helen O’Reagan

They Call You A Miracle Killer

Meeting Maria

Ordinary Woman

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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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