Halfdan E.

" This results in a consistent, symphonic sadness, with moments where the emotional core forms a hybrid with tones of occasional broodiness. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the download only release

Danish composer Halfdan E. is known for scores for films like En Ganske Snill Mann and succesful series like Borgen and Badehotellet (co-composed by Jeppe Kaas). Drabet (Manslaughter) is the third film of the trilogy about the lower, middle and upper class in Denmark, directed by Per Fly. The film concerns itself with a college professor who has to decide to what degree he is willing to protect his 'left activist' mistress that is being charged with the death of a police officer.

For this first score of the trilogy (Bænken) the composer uses a small number of solo instruments and combines them with idiosyncratic, electronic effects on the background. The electronic elements rather deviate in terms of quality, but other than that the score is full of fine playful and dramatic moment. The second in the series,Arven, was recorded with the Danish Radio Orchestra and combines their role with similar electronic effects as on Bænken. It contains moments that remind you of the sort of constant rhythmic flow that characterized the splendid Borgen series.

With the arrival of the third film Drabet in 2005 you will begin to notice how the musical pallete and dramatic sense have changed since the last two films and turned into a deeply evocative and impressive work ofmelancholy. It's the elegant and unsettling string writing, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Den Unge Dankse string quartet, that make a huge impression and underscore the emotional and moral dilemma's around a murder masterfully. When hearing the full score you get the sense of being absorbed into in an intense and heart wrenching world, unable to avoid the misery and the pain. This results in a consistent, symphonic sadness, with moments where the emotional core forms a hybrid with tones of occasional broodiness. It is quite different from a lot of other scores by the composer and can only be described as his greatest achievement so far.

It is difficult to point to a specific highlight, but Weapons (as on the earlier released Milan release) deserves special mentioning.. In this beautiful cue the composers combines the use of plucked strings and the wordless vocals of an soprano beautifully. The new digital release of Drabet by PlantSounds changes the title of the cue from Weapons to Gunspots, has cut the cue down in length by 30 seconds and excludes the use of the soprano. It has been too long ago to remember if both appeared in the film, but it is most unfortunate that a true highlight of the Milan releases was not entirely carried over onto the digital release.

The PlantSounds release also includes some previously unavailable music, that can either be heard in extended versions of some cues, or as completely separate ones. When dealing with such a masterpiece, these additional pieces of music are truly quintessential to the experience. Another difference from the Milan cd is that, for unknown reasons, all the cue titles have been replaced with new ones. With the exception of the previously mentioned Weapons/Gunspots cue, all other changes are perfectly acceptable, and should really encourage anyone to purchase the digital release as well.

1. Manslaughter (Titles) 3:58
2. Fragile 1:58
3. Longing 1:18
4. Inside 2:03
5. Backwards 0:37
6. Funeral 1:15
7. Gunpots 1:34
8. Accident 1:57
9. Worlds Turning 1:23
10. Free 1:56
11. Unreal 1:33
12. Desire 1:04
13. Breaking Up 2:35
14. Dark 1:18
15. Search 1:18
16. In Peace 1:13

Total duration: 27:00

(written on 11-09-2017)
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Released by

PlantSounds (download only release 2017)