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Soundtrack review: The forbiddance (Yuri Poteyenko – 2015)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The forbiddance (Yuri Poteyenko – 2015)


For a country with such an unbelievably rich tradition in music it’s strange that we don’t get more Russian composers and Russian scores. Or at least, access to them because I’m sure Russian cinema is still going strong. KeepMoving Records is trying to change that and is introducing me to the music of Yuri Poteyenko with a couple of releases. I am starting with his score for “The Forbiddance”, which is a tragic love story set in the time of World War II when a young novice falls in love with an Italian soldier. Upon the arrival of the Russian army, they must seek refuge on a deserted island on Lake Ladoga..

I have a soft spot for the Russian way of doing music, literature, art… heavy, poignant, impressive, vast…I hope I find some of that here. I am missing that in today’s film music. Yuri Poteyenko starts with a simple melodic prologue that I picture playing on images of still nature which introduce us to the setting of the story. Of a story. Of any story. It’s cold and cloudy. “Escape plan” wakes up a memory of mine…it sends me to the fragile and fluty beginnings of Patrick Doyle’s masterpiece “Great expectations”. It has the same sound, the same feeling of hiding somewhere and of a beginning bathed in innocence.

My feelings about a score like “The forbiddance” depend a lot on the mood I am when I listen to it. Don’t get me wrong…this is a composition I would love in any circumstance, but the depth level it reaches inside me might vary according to the state I am in. I’m listening to it for the first time and it finds me calm, dreamy, at peace. The music is shy and it gains confidence when it finds me like that so it goes further and tells me the rest of its story, note by note. It’s not a new story, it’s not a Russian story but it’s a nice one nonetheless and I listen to all of it.

“The forbiddance” doesn’t have anything extraordinary about it; it doesn’t bring a cue that will shatter your world or make you want to listen to it over and over again. What makes it a gem is the general atmosphere and the way it flows like the quietest of rivers melting a path through the snow. The score is very sad but melodic and the strings drive it down that path. The piano unearths regrets and doubts. Yuri Poteyenko plays feelings and his music has heart. Sometimes that’s all I need to hear…

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 14 / 37

Album excellence: 37%


The Way To The Island

Cry In The Silence

Love And Faith

The Tragic Story




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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