TV

Soundtrack review: Flesh and bone (Dave Porter – 2015)

Flesh and Bone cover

Flesh and Bone is an American drama television miniseries created by Moira Walley-Beckett. The founder and temperamental artistic director of the American Ballet Company, Paul Grayson (Ben Daniels) is determined to make it rank among the world’s best artistic institutions. As the company’s aging prima ballerina, Kiira (Irina Dvorovenko) struggles with an injury, Grayson believes the company’s saving grace is Claire Robbins (Sarah Hay), a ballet dancer with a troubled past, whose inner torment drives her in compelling, unforeseeable ways. The series explores the dysfunction and glamour of the ballet world. This sounds like „Black swan” for TV and if it has half the intensity of that movie I am in. Dave Porter who made “Breaking bad” sound so good wrote the score.

I was very curious to hear how he would approach this since “Breaking bad” needed an entirely different kind of score. The album starts, strangely, with the closing credits. So we get the conclusion first? This doesn’t sound like a happy ending and if it will be a victory it will not be without sacrifices. It’s the kind of cue that to me shows an open ending.

Claire’s theme could have been darker. I know I might be exaggerating but the troubled past and inner torment the synopsis suggested asked for a little more depth that this string theme. I will think again about this cue when I’ll see the show. Ah there it is…”Trials and heartbreak”” gives me what I wanted. I think this is where we truly meet Claire. I think the cello seals the deal and changes the tone of the score. I love where the music is going; for me it enters a dark and cold place where the only heat is coming from the people inside. There are echoes, both inner and external and when they meet they cause even more doubts and questions.

Dave Porter wrote a score to mirror what’s going on inside the characters. The music sometimes is almost claustrophobic and the moments when it breaks out are short and scattered. “She’s brilliant” is one of those moments when the composer opens the door to an imaginary outside world and to me this disturbs a little the flow of the score.

“Flesh and bones” is mostly quiet but very poignant. Sometimes it’s so quiet it almost shuts up completely but I love that because minimalistic music is my addiction. Sometimes the music sounds as if heard from far away, from another room and I as a listener can imagine and guess what’s going on. Then there are moments like “”Undressing Claire”” which is so uncomfortable that it makes my skin crawl. Nothing erotic or lovable about that moment and I imagine in the show something bad happens.

I love how this score sounds and what it says about the show. I love the questions and echoes in it and I love the sudden turns towards deep darkness. I love the short but intense moments of rage and if I had any doubts before they are gone and I will watch the series as soon as I get a chance. And above all I love the emotional weight of “Curtain call”… More Dave Porter please!

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 40 / 60

Album excellence: 66%

Highlights:

Flesh And Bone Closing Credits

Trials And Heartbreak

A Brand New World

Covered With Books

Strip Club Sights

Room 1132

Undressing Claire

Walk Of Pain

Uncomfortable Hugs

Down The Stairs

Claire Awake

Home To Daddy

Blood Is In The Water

It’s All Yours

Glass Slippers

Curtain Call

Tell Me How It Feels

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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