TV

Soundtrack review: The leftovers (season 2) (Max Richter – 2016)

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I wish Max Richter would write more film and TV scores. I feel like one or two every year is not enough from this extraordinarily gifted composer. For me he is the one who carries the torch of minimalistic ambient music and ads an extra layer to it

“The Leftovers” is an American television drama series created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, airing on HBO. It is based on Perrotta’s novel of the same name. The pilot was written by Lindelof and Perrotta, and directed by Peter Berg. The series stars an ensemble cast featuring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Carrie Coon, and Ann Dowd. The show Revolves around mysterious disappearances, world-wide, and specifically follows a group of people who are left behind in the suburban community of Mapleton. They must begin to rebuild their lives after the loss of more than 100 million people.

The music of the first season was a revelation that shook me to the core. Max Richter wrote such a stunning and emotional minimalistic score that I never got over it. It’s very nice surprise to get the music for the second season as well. I haven’t gotten around to watching the show yet but I will. The opening of the second season shows me that the magic is still there. “Entropy for Meg” is different than what I heard in the first season but when a cue makes me wonder if Brian Eno wrote it, it means it hit one of the places closest to my heart. “The departure (diary)” is one of the few moments from season 2 that remind me of the first album. The slow and haunting piano musings are the bridge between the two albums.

The second volume alternated piano moments with tense ambient pieces. For me the only thing better would be if Max Richter had thrown a 80s synth cue in there. Other than that, going back and forth between my favorite musical instrument and, probably, my favorite musical genre is just bliss. It’s hard to find a better minimalistic composition that this. Quiet as this score is, it reaches straight to my core and caresses my heart. A cue like “Dark cloud for Nora” is something I never want to forget.

Max Richter experiments with other instruments in the music of season 2. We get guitar themes, we get electronic pieces like “A crowd of people turned away” and this makes the score leave its special magical place for a bit. The music is still great but I am still more drawn to the quiet, deeply reflective moments. Cue like “Tom’s lullaby” or “That solitary moment together” (what a magnificent title for a cue, reminds me of the kind of names Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross give their cues) will stay on my list for the best cue of 2016.

I wish Max Richter would write more film and TV scores. I feel like one or two every year is not enough from this extraordinarily gifted composer. For me he is the one who carries the torch of minimalistic ambient music and ads an extra layer to it. In any case, even without seeing the show I’m happy it will get a third season because I already can’t wait for the score.

Cue rating: 96 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 31 / 44

Album excellence: 71%

Highlights:

Entropy for Meg

The Departure (Diary)

Storybook

Tenebrae

Dark Cloud for Nora

The Departure (Phone call)

Bright Cloud for Jill

Tom’s Lullaby

That Solitary Moment Together

The Departure (Persistence of Vision)

Dark Cloud for Kevin

Erika and John

The Quality of Mercy

The Leftovers Main Titles Season 1 (Small Ensemble Version)

 

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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