documentary Film scores

Soundtrack review: The king of Nerac (Michael Csany-Wills – 2015)

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“The king of Nerac” is a documentary about the David Breuer-Weil, a reclusive artist who went into self-imposed exile and created a mysterious aura about himself. He builds himself an imaginary world of which he is the ruler. The score was written by Michael Csany-Wills, a composer I wasn’t familiar with.

Is it enough for music to be nice to make for a good listening experience? For me, I don’t think so. The music of “The king of Nerac” certainly is beautiful and correct. The piano parts flow well, the strings are nice, and the woodwinds tell their story. The problem is that nothing really grabs me, and I am here, ready to be moved, opened to the emotions this score might share with me. I feel as if I’m looking out the window, absent minded, barely registering what I see because my mind is elsewhere. Nothing happens in my line of sight that’s exciting enough to break the monotony and make me snap out of it. I have a nice view from my window but if you will ask me an hour from now what I saw, I couldn’t tell you. Still even moments of absent reflection like these are enjoyable in theirown way. They provide a break from agitation and real life and help recharge the batteries.

I am fishing for exciting moments and I can cling to the wonderful flute parts from “Leaving for Denmark” but this isn’t a cue I would normally remember. If this score had been brilliant this cue might not have registered but in the calm lake that is “The king of Nerac” this piece is like that moment when the sun reflects on the surface in such a way that it creates a moment that means something to you.

As the music shyly progresses I am trying to think of a scenario when this score would be suitable for me to hear again. The more I listen to the music the more I realize that this is an exercise in minimalism, though not as poignant and engaging as something Philipp Glass or Aarvo Part might write. It’s soft minimalistic music that could blend well with nature sounds to make a lonely day spent at a remote cabin feel a little more colorful. It could blend with the wind chimes as well and it could help me reflect. Yes, this is my scenario for “The king of Nerac”. But now I am not in those external conditions so the impact of the score is… minimal.

Cue rating: 74 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 4 / 48

Album excellence: 9%

Highlights:

Leaving for Denmark

A moment of peace

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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