David Hirschfelder

Sanctum

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AllMusic Review by

The score for Alister Grierson's Sanctum was written by veteran cinema and television composer David Hirschfelder, best known for his work on Strictly Ballroom, Shine, Elizabeth, and Australia. These 18 cues run the gamut of sonics and textures, from orchestral to electronic, and are comprised of music that runs from melodramatic classical themes to euphoric South American and African ones. Regardless of the screen images, Hirschfelder's music works on its own. Ranging from the blissfully airy intro "A Sacred Place" through the spiritual grandeur of "Espiritu Esa Ala" and "Saint Jude's Cathedral," the brooding orchestral dread of "Through the Restriction" and "We're Not Gonna Die," and the explosive minimalist theme in "Flow Stone Falls," Hirschfelder's score resonates with a nearly limitless sense of -- sometimes overarching -- ambition. In later cues, such as "The Sacred River," "I Can See You," "Push On? You Decide," and "Are We Home Yet?," Hirschfelder combines sparsity with orchestral strings, droning human voices, and electronics to offer a controlled dynamic that is forceful and emotionally moving. The final cue, "Sanctum Suite," reprises the score's major themes -- and reflects the uneasy agreement between the human and natural worlds -- to excellent effect. Hirschfelder's Sanctum is one of his finest scores.

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