documentary Film scores

Soundtrack review – The wind gods (Pinar Toprak – 2011)

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A new release by Caldera Records is always a special moments for me. They don’t release a lot of scores every year but everything they put out has been a musical treasure for me, a score for the ages. I don’t know how they pick what to release but they always hit the sweet emotional spot with me. And when the name of the composer is Pinar Toprak the excitement is double. The story this time is “The wind gods”, the 2011 documentary that chronicles the 10 year quest of famous entrepreneur Larry Ellison who set sail with his ‘Oracle’ to win the America’s Cup and therefore bring the prestigious sailing prize home to the US after it had been won by foreigners in the past years. The documentary is narrated by Jeremy Irons. I know some friends of mine who’d love to watch this one.

Having not done it yet, to me sailing is something very dreamy. I can only imagine clear skies, the wind that brings the salty taste of the sea and countless hours of dreaming. I imagine adventure, joy and as I think about all these things a beautiful and optimistic melody rings in my ears. It’s not just my imagination; it’s Pinar’s main theme for this story. I haven’t seen the documentary yet so I can’t comment on how it fits that story, but I can tell you it matches my feelings and imagination perfectly.

From the first moment until the last this score makes me think of beautiful imagery, or splendid landscapes and of something endless. I like how the music is constructed in such a way that I can see a boat breaking waves and in the meantime get the feeling of something light enough to float. The first master cue of this score “First race 1851” (why 1851?) uses the flute sounds to keep it afloat and has the right pace to make me imagine I’m in front of a TV cheering for someone.

I’m used to Pinar Toprak’s deep emotional scores so I am very happy to discover here her more adventurous musical side. The furious strings fight with the horns to give us action and suspense and I am having a great time listening to this score. Did I say emotional moments? “The best man to steer the boat” seals the deal for me. How can a heart not sing when it hears such a beautiful cue?

When I listen to “The wind gods” I get the same sweet dreamy feeling I’ve been getting for years from Thomas Newman scores. This album has the same melodic quality, never hard on the ears and pleasing to the heart that’s made Newman such a great composer. But this is all about Pinar Toprak and the journey she creates for us as listeners. Once again she has delivered a musical flower to put in an ever growing garden. I hope soon all her releases get the treatment this one got.

P.S. and a 12 minute cue called “The 12 minute cue”? that’s just brilliant!

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 24 / 48

Album excellence: 49%

Highlights:

The Wind Gods

Ellison vs. Bertarelli

The Best Man To Steer The Boat

There Is No Second Place

Jimmy And His Father

Whats At Stake

The Trophy

The 12 Minute Cue

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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