Film scores

Soundtrack review: Midsomer Murders (Jim Parker – 2015)

„Midsomer murders” is a long running British drama which focuses on police investigations over countless murders in the fictional Midsomer County. I know my family watches and enjoy this show. This soundtrack is a collection of score cues by Jim Parker and vocal songs.

I haven’t watched the series and I don’t know what the episode „The Ballad of Midsomer County” is about. The vocal ballad sounds Irish and beautiful and it takes me back to countless hours of listening to Irish folk music. They don’t make the topic of this review but the vocal folk songs which make up half of the soundtrack are really great for lovers of Celtic folk music. They are ballads or longing and drinking and The Nettlebed Collective or Lucie Jones go on my list of artists to look for.

Still I don’t have to watch the show to feel what „Pagan ceremony” tells me. This is exactly how I would imagine a British murder series would sound. Maybe I’ve watched a lot of them and this is why but Jim Parker’s composition makes me feel like I am following that investigation. There’s a certain serious suspense in the music and the violin just fits. The score is as grey and bleak as the English countryside but the emotions it shows bring the necessary warmth.

„Homecoming” is rich and it alternates the soulful and melancholic piano with sudden string induced bursts of energy. The dialogue of the instruments makes me think of a not so pleasant homecoming and of a lot of baggage. „Echoes” can get hard to bear for some because of its slow development. The strings seem intentionally distorted and each note takes a long time to come out. The effect is the right one though. The shrill female voice that appears like a ghost every now and then helps the idea of echoes and this is the kind of reflective cue you must be in the right mood to enjoy.

The string play was the most interesting takeaway from this score. There were enough moments when I said to myself “Hm, didn’t imagine they could do that”. Other than that my lack of connection with the TV show or the episode in question diminished the listening experience. The main theme both in regular and folk version were my only highlights.

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 6 / 16

Album excellence: 35%

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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