Witches

Marc Timón Barceló

 
" Winner of the Jerry Goldsmith award of 2010 "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

It's funny how some things turn out in life. Here I am, saying film music doesn't have a promising future if composers keep churning out theme-less movie music on synthesisers. And here I am, getting to know one who proves me wrong! I stumbled upon Marc Timón Barceló's music during the festival of Úbeda in 2011. During the recital it became quite clear that his score for Witches had potential, especially when one listened to the theme that was performed on piano. Later we met the composer and discovered his score from the recital (Witches) was actually a lot bigger. Recorded with a large orchestra and a big choir, which is a huge difference with the chamber orchestra performance in Úbeda. That orchestra truly makes a difference.

This brings me to my one and only negative complaint. During my listen I was devouring the wonderful themes and melodies of Witches, but at the same time complaining it wasn't big enough. This has nothing to do with Timón's music but actually with the performance of the orchestra or the recording of it. It's like listening to Mark McKenzie's Warlock score. You know it has full potential and still you can't help but think at the way it all sounds a bit thin from time to time. I know they correct that nowadays by mixing the same recording together, creating thereby a larger than life performance of the orchestra, and in this case it would have helped the score from time to time.

But whatever my impression about this may be, I have nothing bad to say about Marc Timón Barceló's music for Witches. On the contrary, one will be pleasantly surprised to hear old fashioned orchestral music coming from a 30 year old composer. Honestly, at one point throughout the score you'll be getting old fashioned fantasy music, colourful 60's tunes, waltzes and medieval sounding songs. Or how one gets a taste of that magical sound during "Witches Main Theme", when one hears a magical fantasy main theme and a sprightly upbeat secondary theme that dances on a string overdose. By then you'll have come in contact with the smaller sounding performance of the orchestra, something that will detract you perhaps from the obvious quality of Marc Timón's music, namely his thematic mind.

Because let me quite honestly picture it for you. Witches is too upbeat and too happy for its movie. It's like listening to 80's music, it has that lack of seriousness in its music, making it too alive and happy for its counterpart. Or ... like I want my music to sound like. Marc Timón's music is alive and kicking. The hypnotizing medieval song in "The Village Dance" has a nice catchy ring to it (sung in Catalan, just like tracks 10 and 13), the wonderful rise of the drama theme in "Living in the Castles", and the continuation of Marc's knowledge of ancient dance tunes in "The Dance of the Court" and "The Wedding", it all comes alive during the first quarter.

A total package however comes in the shape and form of "Doing Remedies". It's here where you get a bit of jazzy piano, sprightly flute passages and charming 60's playfulness, with a waltz as extra bonus. It's a strange mix, especially for the picture it may want to make. But on disc it's playful, eclectic and catchy to hear. It repeats all this in "Isolda's Healings" if you want more of that. But Timón's music fits the era better when he lets his themes (main and drama) talk with dramatic power and playful John Williams' atonality in "Looking for the Inheritor", or when we receive a wonderful song for male and female vocal in "Love Theme of Violant and the Troubadour". And don't forget the powerful main theme in "The Troubadour is the Father", leading to the playful passage of the secondary theme.

The biggest impact however comes during tracks 12 and 13. During the 10 minute "The Inquisitor: Against Blasphemy & Witchcraft" you receive a heroic counterpart that you weren't expecting at all. Large choral moments and growing percussion heighten the playful secondary theme to a bolder epic statement. During this passage you often get the feeling you're listening to snippets of Cutthroat Island music (brief but sometimes noticeable). It's definitely the sound we didn't discover yet of Marc Timón, and it sounds wonderfully epic from time to time. It would be foolish to diminish the quality of "Isolda's Lament" as well, which holds a moment for solo vocal leading to an orchestral crescendo.

To be honest, it's easy to question whether certain musical styles will work in context with the movie. But in a time where film music lacks heart and spirit, it is refreshing to discover some composers still dare to push forward thematic music, orchestral crescendos and uplifting musical styles. Making Witches perhaps too upbeat for its own good, but darn enjoyable and refreshing nonetheless for a soundtrack experience. Honestly, I miss that the most during my experiences nowadays. So well done Marc Timón for re-imagining that spirit.

Tracklisting

1. Witches Main Theme (7.47) Excellent track
2. Potions and Spells (4.17)
3. The Village Dance (4.16)
4. Living in the Castles (4.22)
5. The Dance of the Court (2.14)
6. The Wedding (4.40)
7. Doing Remedies (6.10)
8. Looking for the Inheritor (4.42) Excellent track
9. The Troubadour is the Father (5.09) Excellent track
10. Love Theme of Violant and the Troubadour (4.13)
11. Isolda's Healings (4.38)
12. The Inquisitor: Against Blasphemy & Witchcraft (9.32) Excellent track
13. Isolda's Lament (4.27) Excellent track
14. Isolda's Magic Transformation (1.29)
15. Witches (3.33) Excellent track

Bonus Track
16. The Village Dance Remix (DJ Tymon) (3.39

Total Length: 75.08
(click to rate this score)  
 
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(total of 3 votes - average 1.67/5)

Released by

Hispania Musica HSR 103/2010 (regular release 2010)

Conducted by

Melani Mestre

Orchestrations by

Marc Timón Barceló

Performed by

Lviv Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Nova Anticua and the Kurka choir