Het Gouden Uur

Zbigniew Wolny

 
" the overall effectiveness is rather good. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

The original score to the 2022 Dutch TV series Het Gouden Uur (The Golden Hour) was written by Zbigniew Wolny, a composer of Polish origins, who came to the Netherlands to study at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Since then, he has composed music for films, television series, art installations; basically a wide variety of media. He wrote scores to several seasons of the television series Mocro Maffia and a score together Daniel Tuparia to the film Catacombe.

The plot outline is as follows: A Dutch detective of Afghan descent receives a text message stating that his childhood friend Faysal is in the Netherlands. When a terrorist attack occurs the next day, Mardik suspects Faysal and investigates, with drastic consequences.

Wolny' score to Het Gouden Uur ties in with a familiar modern musical approach; a wearisome and colourless template that focuses on texture and atmosphere to heighten the tension. He recorded orchestra music with the Prague Metropolitan Orchestra and mixes them with electronic samples.

There is a rather well executed recurring Afghan motif connecting the present and past of the main protagonists. However, the strongest overall quality of the music is how the series mainly demands rather colorless music, usually the hybrid of orchestral and electronic textures to heighten the suspense. It's evident in the first terrorist attack and a long preceding later into the series, in which the pulse of electronic textures with some orchestral layers, which aren't always beautiful, do well in supporting the intensity, the threat, and the dismay of what unfolds.

Besides the emotional Afghan motif, there are several futile attempts to address an emotion, whom from my point of view nihil ad rem, especially in the prolonged terrorist attack in a shopping mall, despite some comprehensible display of sentiments in terms of developments and specific (side)characters. I suppose, from a screenwriter's point of view, and my own, irrelevant characters, depict a human soul amidst the drama. But it's a phenomenon that has haunted the modern scoring industry in general; not the generic soulless writings, which is there, and not representable for the overall scene, but especially futile attempts to add emotion in bleak, sensational scores to create an overall intense musical environment to its product. In reality, a score solely comprised orchestral parts could be equally bleak, which can be a strong quality, but the futile attempts for limited emotions rarely help much.

I find it difficult to believe that, in comparing the score to numerous other similar modern scores, the electronics, no matter the budget and all other things considered, many feel almost immediately outdated. Even decades ago, a composer who either wrote in similar hybrid mode, or an approach with a full orchestra and minor electronic support, generally feels less outdated. Of course, unless they consciously retro, which I strongly doubt.

In watching the entire series, almost without a pause, hopefully providing an immediate overview of all its musical qualities, but there is little to admire. Knowingly, there is not much that makes this score stand out from many others, the overall effectiveness is rather good.


(21-11-2022)
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Released by

- (music as heard in the movie 2022)