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Soundtrack review: Sharing the rough (Max Hirtenstein – 2015)

Documentary Film scores

Soundtrack review: Sharing the rough (Max Hirtenstein – 2015)


“Sharing the rough” is a 2015 documentary written and directed by Orin Mazzoni which documents the never before captured process of the journey of a colored gemstone from mine to market while exploring the challenges of an emerging mining economy in East Africa. It’s been in a official selection of a bunch of festivals. Max Hirtenstein wrote the score and this appears to be his first venture into film scoring.

The opening is light and melodic with just a touch of African ethnic instruments. I hear a pan flute and s other woodwinds that make me thing of that continent. The short vocal insert seals the deal and in just one clever minute the composer manages to introduce us in the setting of this story. “What comes out of the ground” sound exactly as I would imagine a cue named like this would sound. It might be a strange thing to read but the quiet and slow guitar strums, the respectful and warm tone and the chiming make me think of a bright summer afternoon in the countryside, connecting with nature, of a moment when nothing can interfere to alter the mood. These two minutes make me wish for a summer getaway.

The tone of the score remains light and optimistic. This continues to be a summer score and I can imagine hearing it on a holyday, or rather as I’m getting close to my holiday destination because the music also has that sweet sting of anticipation in it. Max Hirtenstein didn’t complicate things when they didn’t need to be complicated. From what I gather the documentary could very well show images without dialogue and this is exactly the type of music that would work. I hear progression, I hear something being created and built and I hear someone passionate for what he does. I’m not just talking about what images the music suggests to me.

If you are looking for a nice relaxing score “Sharing the rough” will do just fine. It’s one of those compositions to listen to on a Sunday afternoon when you are far away from the outside world. For me it also had the extra bonus of a few touches of nostalgia, from the endless summer the music evokes to some moments that reminded me of James Newton Howard’s “Blood diamond”. Max Hirtenstein’s score is a small child running on a meadow, chasing a balloon. When I hear this score I root for the child to catch it.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 12 / 17

Album excellence: 69%


What Comes Out of the Ground

Why We Came Here

A Frame for a Painting

What Comes Out of the Ground (Alternate)

Sharing the Rough

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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