Johan Söderqvist

After the Wedding [Original Soundtrack]

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Composer Johan Söderqvist came to prominence as a participant in Denmark's rigorously naturalist Dogme 95 movement, which among other things proscribed the use of music unless it was "diegetic," as cinema buffs say -- part of the scene. The music for After the Wedding, which re-teams Söderqvist with filmmaker Susanne Bier (he also wrote the score for the 2004 drama Brothers), is not restricted in this way, but there is still a minimalist aspect to the score. The film concerns a Dane who operates an orphanage in India and is drawn back to Denmark by a mysterious financial donor and becomes enmeshed in an arranged romance. The score is accordingly heavily flavored by Indian sounds, with frequent use of tabla drums and a small flute in front of orchestral backdrop from the Philharmonia Orchestra, augmented variously by guitars, keyboards, and voices. This is the minimalists' Indian music, especially that of Glass, not Indian classical music, and certainly not the kinetic Western-influenced sound of Bollywood. Most of the segments are very slow, hypnotic, seemingly designed to accompany views of Indian landscapes or memories of them. The recording is very fine and allows the emergence of small details of instrumental texture, which are themselves the focus of the score. The music here does not deliver the sentiment that listeners might expect from the lush romantic scenes depicted on the packaging, but it represents a new kind of score, experimental in conception but evolved to a point of full accessibility, which may well interest film music buffs a good deal.

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