Film scores

Soundtrack review: Le jardin d’Ewald (Andre Barros – 2015)

jardin

“Le jardin d’Ewald” is a documentary about the attempt of Senegalese people, to outwit one of the greatest mass murderers of our time. Silently, insidiously and always with full force: the overpowering villain, which the Senegalese have to oppose year after year carries the name ‘drought’. Drought and the disappearance of water, plants, animals and people can’t be prevented, calculated or stopped. Or could there be a way? Subjects like these make me shiver and worry. Andre Barros wrote the score.

2015 has been a great year for documentary scores. A subject as dramatic as this was prone to brings with it meaningful music. I envision a string quartet playing my first highlight from this score “Coeur courageux”. That cue is just testing my threshold for heartbreaking music and when it sees that I can take it, it sends in the harrowing “A la longue” and the piano piece “Quand il fait noir” which makes me want to find someone to protect.

Strings are dominating this score and yet the music is so minimalistic that I can decompose the sound and identify every single slide of the fiddlestick. It feels as if it’s cutting my skin and I feel the pain the composer is trying to relate to me. And how about “Il vous voit”… such an interesting cue starting with nature sounds then slowly fading into the quietest of themes, as if we were in the middle of the night alert to even the smallest sound we wouldn’t normally hear.

Nature sounds are an important part of the score for “Le jardin d’Ewald”. I guess Andre Barros is trying to make us feel closer to nature because that is the main character of this documentary. They are the only moments which echo the subject of the film to me… the nature sounds and the short vocal inserts with testimonials. Otherwise the music is so clean, so beautiful that it takes a life of its own. I feel as if I am in a small room and the few soloists are playing just for me. There’s no one to talk to about this; I get a distinct feeling of loneliness about this score. The score also feels very intimate and I like this feeling. It’s almost as if even I wouldn’t share it with everyone.

If you like string music and chamber music you will love this score. It’s a colorful and fragile butterfly in the big world of film music.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 13 / 22

Album excellence: 59%

Highlights:

Coeurs Courageux

À La Longue

Quand Il Fait Noir

Lac Tanma

Sans Cri

Le Jardin D’ewald

L’âme De La Terre

Pallo

La Vérité De La Mer

Le Jardin D’ewald (Final Credits)

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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