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Soundtrack review: An inspector calls (Dominik Scherrer – 2015)


Soundtrack review: An inspector calls (Dominik Scherrer – 2015)


“An Inspector Calls” is one of four literary dramas that the BBC has ordered as part of their season on classic 20th century literature. J.B. Priestley’s play was adapted for TV by Helen Edmunson. It is directed by Aisling Walsh (A Poet in New York) and stars David Thewlisas as Inspector, Ken Stott as Arthur Birling and Miranda Richardson as Sybil Birling. The inspector investigates the suicide of a young woman. After “The missing” which I really enjoyed, composer Dominik Scherrer returns to the genre.

A story like this provides a fertile ground for film music. There’s a richness of feelings to be explored and put into notes and Domonik Scherrer wastes no time in erasing the outside world and replacing it with a period setting where everything moves slower and in a dim light. The gorgeous rolling piano from “Do you believe in God?” is a metaphor for the rain that I imagine falls all the time in this story. It’s a stunning opening to this album and one of those piano themes that are so gentle and poignant that I will remember forever.

As the music progresses I feel warmer and warmer, more and more protected. The composer created a soft and comfortable sound that fits like a blanket over a tired body. He doesn’t use a lot of instruments….this is a score of few characters but each of them knows its place and plays its part well. The strings…the piano….they let each other speak and complete each other. The music is shy and respectful, quiet and reflective and I imagine it fits the story very well. I can see myself watching a dense and intense TV show where the music stays out of the way and lets me pay attention to the plot while being an integral part of the experience.

A short and superb cue like “Dismissed” is ready for the hall of fame. It takes a special kind of composer to make me feel so at peace, so in love and so moved with just one minute of music. But this is just the heart of the score. The entire composition is elegant and exquisite, with soft edges and a sound as sweet and soothing as honey. “An inspector calls” is the first gentle autumn rain, before it gets truly cold. It’s that first wink of autumn telling you it’s on its way and the time for somber reflection is upon us. I absolutely loved this score and I am grateful to Dominik Scherrer for writing such a balm for the heart.

Cue rating: 96 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 24

Album excellence: 69%



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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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