Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Django Unchained - Music Notes

Naturally, a new Tarantino movie is going to have a noteworthy soundtrack. It's all readily accessible online and I recommend having a listen.

However, one track halfway through the picture grabbed my attention and demanded that I watch through the credits to find out what it was. The titles rolled fast; there was a lot of Ennio Morricone and a splash of Jerry Goldsmith flashing before my eyes. Where was that almost Bartok-like sound I'd heard, or perhaps even beyond-its-limits Bernard Herman? No. This was the music of Luis Bacalov.



Once we're past that extraordinary, febrile string scuttling, a tune breaks out. It's remarkable - it almost sounds as if it's been borrowed from Howard Shore's Lord Of The Rings score. But then, the latter two LotR films are nothing if not last stand at the OK Corral-type yarns. No, Bacalov has been writing music since the 1950s and this track is almost certainly borrowed from a 1960s spaghetti western, possibly even the original Django movie of 1966, for which Bacalov was the composer as he was for a number of spaghetti westerns.

The main title song is also the work of Bacalov, sung by Rocky Roberts.

Incidentally, Christoph Waltz's character, Schultz, tells the harpist to 'stop playing Beethoven' at a latter point in the movie. She is playing Für Elise, a bagatelle or short composition intended for piano. And yes, it is as irritating as Schultz suggests.

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