Edward Artemiev

The Odyssey: Music From the Motion Picture

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The two features that make a good film soundtrack composer are a personal style and the flexibility to adapt. Therefore, it seems unfair to compare Edward Artemiev's score for the Hollywood-financed television production The Odyssey and his classic music for Andrei Tarkovsky's science-fiction films of the 1970s. All Artemiev did was adapt to the needs of the production, starting with the setting. The action of Andrei Konchalovski's film (following Homer's The Odyssey) takes place in Greece, so the composer borrowed bouzouki melodies and included a couple of Greek folk-style singing episodes. Each piece has been tailored to suit the action of a specific scene, including orchestral cues, percussive outbursts, and horn section buildups. The London Philarmonic Orchestra go through the motions and in the end one gets the impression that the music stands closer to that of John Williams than Artemiev's more personal works. Too incidental and lacking strong melodies one would want to come back to, the pieces feel somewhat incomplete without the images they are meant to support. Unlike the soundtracks to Stalker and Solaris, The Odyssey will not make history. Of appeal only to those who want to reminisce about the movie.