Film scores

Soundtrack review: The falcon (Alfi Kabiljo – 1981, 2016)

Everything about “The falcon” is authentic and carefully crafted. The composer knows music, world music and he knew exactly how to make this score sound to give us the most faithful image of those historical times.

The latest release in The Gold Collection from Kronos Records is “The Flacon”. In late 14th century medieval Serbia becomes the target of Ottoman invaders. One of their renegade gangs burns the castle and takes young wife of Banovic Strahinja, respected Serbian noble. Banovic Strahinja begins long and almost futile quest for her wife despite everybody else’s doubts in her fidelity. The 1981 film starred none less the legendary Italian actor FRANCO NERO (Django) and the music was composed, orchestrated and conducted by Alfons “Alfi” Kabiljo and performed by Jadran film mixed choir and orchestra, and Ensambles Universitas Studiorum Zagrabienzis.

To me, to hear such a score is one of the greatest pleasures of being in the film music world. How else would I have been able to experience the thrill of discovering a score written for an epic Serbian movie from 1981? This is like unearthing a long lost treasure. To listen to and write about current films is one thing but to have access to something like this is just wonderful. It feels as if I could also find similar scores from Romanian epic movies from that age.

The main titles shroud me in renaissance music and transport me into the times when the story takes place. It’s a beautiful piece in which I hear an Arabic influence as well which adds to the mystery. That’s the mark of the Ottoman invaders which come to attack. The way the music is written and divided makes me think of looking at an old canvas painted in those times which hasn’t kept all its colors and is interrupted every now and then by blank spots. The cues are short and intense and play like audio scenes from those times. “Renaissance landscape” is a very appropriate title for the entire score, not just for a beautiful cue. We get flashes that help us complete that picture.

The choral parts are powerful and penetrating. I feel as if I am in a cathedral where monks are praying devoutly. It doesn’t matter that I don’t understand he language; their chanting needs no translation to have meaning. Still what gets to me the most is the renaissance flute. That instrument has a way of getting in my heart and warming up from the inside. The gentle harp strings also help and I feel the need to close my eyes.

Everything about “The falcon” is authentic and carefully crafted. The composer knows music, world music and he knew exactly how to make this score sound to give us the most faithful image of those historical times. From the deep and somber male choirs to the gentle butterfly motifs the journey of this score is fascinating and rewarding. I invite you to take it!

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 16 / 40

Album excellence: 40%

Highlights:

Main Title

Renaissance Landscape

Deserted Yard

Toss Network

The Falcon 1

Jefimija

Lamentoso

Banović Strahinja – The Falcon 2

Turkish Dance

Court Of Jug Bogdan

End Title

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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