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Soundtrack review: L’astragale (Beatrice Thiriet – 2015)

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“L’astragale” (French word meaning “anklebone”) is a 2015 french movie based on a famous novel from 1957. It’s the story of a girl who escapes from prison and breaks her anklebone while scaling the prison wall and who is found there by a gangster who was just passing by. A strange relationship develops. The score comes from Beatrice Thiriet.

This is a European score so it’s sophisticated and elegant. It starts with a violin and a piano having an intense dialogue, a wonderful back and forth that announces good things to come. “Rendez-vous au Café” really gets my attention because it’s one of those intense and magnificent violin solos which sound as if it was taken from a concerto. I feel as if I’m in a dark concert hall where the only light is focused on the solo violin performer on the stage.

As the score progresses it gets even more special. This is an homage to classical music, an homage to beauty and I can’t get enough of the way the instruments play with each other and with me. “Sicilienne Bach” shoes the composer’s love for classical music and this is a very nice chamber piece. The concert feeling returns in “Rendez-vous Normandie, part 1” and I am just happy to get the chance to visit this oasis of symphonic music. Very few instruments take part but I don’t need more.

As the music box sound of “Quai de Seine” plays I mark the name of Beatrice Thiriet down because I will want to hear more of her work after this. This score serves as a presentation of her skills and I am just floored. “A new ground” switches the rhythm once again and we get an almost renaissance like sounding piano and xylophone theme. “L’astragale” feels like a journey through time to the nicest moments of classical music.

For a fan of the piano and violin like me such a score is pure heaven. I wish it would last longer than the just 18 minutes of bliss we get here. These two instruments can express so many feelings and they touch me in a way no other musical instrument can. I forget that this is film music because Beatrice Thiriet’s composition transcends that. It flies away from the confines of the images it was written for and makes its own wonderful journey and it will help you as a listener to the same. “L’astragale” is one of the most exquisite compositions I’ve heard this year and a welcomed departure far, far away from the Hollywood way of scoring.

Listen to this even if you are not into film music. You can’t go wrong with this one if you enjoy beautiful music. There’s not a single note in excess here and everything is carefully planted and cared for. I am just in awe when I hear gorgeous and passionate symphonic music like this and I remember that the roots of film music lie there. And that violin… it just ravishes me and as soon as I am done writing this I will search for the soloist. I will definitely keep this score close.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 18 / 18

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

L’astragale

Rendez-Vous Au Café

Sicilienne Bach

Rendez-Vous Normandie, Pt. 1

Quai De Seine

A New Ground

Rendez-Vous Normandie, Pt. 2

Saint-Jean

Retour Paris

Entremêlés

La Nuit Et Le Feu

Rendez-Vous Normandie, Pt. 3

L’astragale (Extended Version)

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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