Film scores

Soundtrack review – Say it in Russian (Pinar Toprak – 2008)

Say_It_in_Russian_(2007)

Pinar Toprak is a name I always get excited about. Her compositions always have something extra to tell me and they always leave me a little richer, a little happier and a little more connected to film music. The opening track of “Say it in Russian”, “A grand affair” instantly reminds me of that. This is a roller coaster of emotions ranging from the heart breaking violin explosion to the tense and intelligent thriller pieces. 2 minutes into this score and I am convinced. The story is inspired by the real life experiences of the main star and is a combination of romance, politics and thriller. Now each time there’s a story with a connection to Mother Russia I am ready for a heavy and intense musical experience.

Pinar Toprak’s composition is like a beautiful ice skating couples dance. The violin parts are absolutely stunning (I could listen to “Have dinner with me” dozens of times without blinking) and they are probably written for the moments when love conquers all and the outside elements disappear. I recognize a main piano theme as well, beautiful and soft and which is pure romance to me. You don’t need more. That piano motif is the look your lover throws you which tells you more than a thousand words. It goes right to your stomach and wakes up all the butterflies. “First kiss” is something any music lover should listen to and experience. It echoes deep in my memories and it makes me want to close my eyes and let myself be drowned in sweet memories. Beautiful moments like these are why I love film music so much, and Pinar Toprak knows how to deliver them.

“Say it in Russian” is the kind of score that evokes to me an early autumn day when the air is electric and cloudy… when the streets are more empty than full and I can enjoy a melancholic walk through streets that mean a lot to me. I take that walk and get reacquainted with some memories and with the autumn that wants to embrace me for a couple of months. It’s not yet as heavy as November but there’s a shadow… a chill… a fist gust of cold wind. All this for me means nostalgia, melancholy and Pinar Toprak’s music brings this in my heart even if I haven’t heard this score before. I was waiting for it though. I know these feelings and somehow her composition is the scent of autumn that returns and finds familiar places to grace inside me.

“Say it in Russian” is deep, beautiful and meaningful. It’s a composition that will be just as intimate to anyone who listens to it. The score speaks in the universal language of music and emotion and connecting to it is as easy as smiling at a memory that suddenly stung you as if from nowhere. The music also flows naturally from tender to tense and nothing seems out of place. Yes I focused on the emotional parts in this review but make no mistake: the action parts are just as exciting. If you are familiar with Pinar Toprak’s music you will keep this score on your iPod or whatever for good. You will want to have it close as if it was an excerpt from your diary. If you don’t know her music yet, you are missing out on so much… And “Say it in Russian” is as good a chance as any to enter her world.

Cue rating: 97 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 34 / 44

Album excellence: 77%

Highlights:

A Grand Affair

Have Dinner With Me

First Kiss

Suicide Bridge

Crossroads

Only Two Of Us

Exiled Emotions

Memories Of Us

Redemption

Rescuing Daria

Life’s Epilogue

Chasing Destiny

Last Goodbye

An Ocean Away

Time Stands Still

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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