These two scores, Twice a Woman for the film by Georges Sluizer and Deadly Sin for the Rene Van Nie film, represent more than anything in recent memory the reason why Hollywood scores -- let alone soundtracks (many of which contain songs not even in their films) -- suck so bad these days. The prolific Willem Breuker, one of the finest and certainly most diverse composers on the contemporary jazz scene, has outdone himself with these two works. Not written for shorts or experimental cinema, but for major works by well-known directors, he rose to the challenge and -- at least in the case of Sluizer -- composed scores that are better than the films they support. Breuker's Twice a Woman is full of air and bright overtones. There is tango music wed to Italian and French folk music, sewn into jazz and 20th century classical music. All of it -- well almost all -- is merry and bright, a seamless, accessible whole for listeners to experience as a work in its own right. It stands solidly apart from the film, and instead becomes a category of aural images for the listener to take in. All moods are addressed, and none are hung onto thematically for more than a few minutes. Shifts and palette changes, both in melodic and harmonic sensibilities, are inventive and idiosyncratic in the best sense of the words. Oddly enough, it also creates a somewhat prophetic introduction to the score for Rene Van Nie's Deadly Sin. A type of funeral march is the entrance theme for the Deadly Sin score, but just as the processional begins to leave the church, there is an homage to Morricone's Italian film scores, where moments of great ambivalence or reflection are portrayed. The horn arrangements are spectacular; they understate everything while addressing tension and drama. Breuker is conducting here, not playing. His control of the proceedings is total; there is not an extra space or placement of an oddly shaded phrase anywhere. The entire score is moody and calls in everything from the aforementioned sources (Morricone's spaghetti western scores are also quoted), as well as Bernard Hermann, Nino Rota, and even early John Barry. But it is Breuker's work. He utilizes his elements because they extend his own efforts, and the score is better for it. In all, this set deserves to be included among Breuker's best recordings (and he has many), and should be listened to with great depth and appreciation by all musicians wishing to compose for cinema, as well as by the hacks who currently make their living at it in Hollywood. This is how it's done, son.
Share this page