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Soundtrack review: The black prince (George Kallis – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The black prince (George Kallis – 2017)

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“The Black Prince” is a movie from 2017, directed by Kavi Raz. The films tells the touching and exhilarating story of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last king of Punjab before its British annexation. After the First Anglo-Sikh War, the king sees himself torn between his own country and England and struggles to regain his own kingdom. The title role of the Maharaja is portrayed by Punjabi poet and singer Satinder Sartaaj who delivers a strong performance in the film that also stars Jason Flemyng and Amanda Root. George Kallis wrote the score.

Seeing this composer’s name on a score puts me in a very nice anticipatory mood as George Kallis has a very pleasant and positive style of writing film music; right from the fist cue “Opening titles” his brand of orchestral charms me with a lush motif that also has a hint of Oriental vibe. The string section plays a gorgeous, broad dramatic theme that could work very well as closing credits while the piano and the flute bring a stinging feeling of melancholy. Just a couple of cues in and I am all in for this refreshingly optimistic orchestral composition. There have been quite a few Indian influenced film scores in recent years, some of them brilliantly done by Thomas Newman and the infusion of subtle Indian motifs in the fabric of a score always works for me.

Did I mention how delighted I am by this score? A cue like “Back to England” is simply as beautiful as orchestral film music can get, a proper dramatic theme, emotional and moving without being overly complex. George Kallis knows how to smoothen the edges of his music so that everything is warm to feel and comfortable to listen to; every motif from this score is a fairy tale and I get all warm and fuzzy inside when the piano and flute motifs in “I know…your destiny” grace my ears. The score could stop right there and then and I would be happy and grateful for the listening experience; every now and then I run across a score that just hits every single spot by being as light as its beautiful, as emotional as it’s dreamy and with no filler cues or motifs. George Kallis has found a little niche for himself, a niche where orchestral music is joyous even when it’s dramatic and where what he writes feels like a wonderful celebration of life and music.

Like every Caldera release “The black prince” is wonder after wonder, gem after gem with me having a hard time choosing my favourite cue from the score or deciding which one is more beautiful. I can listen to this score randomly starting from any point and the sensation wouldn’t change because magic is everywhere. There’s really nothing more to say except that this is one of the clearest and most beautiful romantic orchestral scores of this year and no matter how you might be feeling one day, listening to it will make that day just a little bit better.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 36 / 53

Album excellence: 69%

Highlights:
Opening Titles
First Trip to India
Mother
Back to England
I Know Your Destiny
The Prophecy
The Bird
Dr. Logan Passes
First Meeting
I Am Not a Prince
Marriage Proposal
Travelling to Paris
Assassination Attempt
Rest in Peace Bamba
My Childhood
Death and Coronation

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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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