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Soundtrack Review

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Sunrise: Special Edition


Composer: Joe Kraemer
Performed by: The Synchron Stage Orchestra
Label: Caldera Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 15 September 2018

Caldera Records release the new score for the motion picture Sunrise from 1927, directed by F.W. Murnau, featuring music by Joe Kraemer, commissioned by the Dallas Chamber Symphony...

It's always a joy when we receive the latest score from Caldera Records. I like to clear my schedule so that I can just soak up the music without any distractions. I'd probably stick my neck out and say that this is their finest release to date. Joe Kraemer's (Femme Fatales; Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation) music is uplifting, memorable and energetic - not to mention diverse.

Back in 2016 Kraemer was commissioned by the Dallas Chamber Orchestra to write an original score for F.W. Murnau’s silent masterpiece, Sunrise, which was originally released in 1927. For me, this album opened up the floodgates to nostalgia. There are so many nods here and there to cinematic scores from the '80s and '90s. I don't mean that Kraemer is referencing other composer's material, rather that he manages to capture the feel and essence of so many fond memories from that time period.

There are elements of James Horner's scores in 'The Train Sequence' (Casper) and 'The Marsh Sequence and City Song' (Jumanji); John Williams's work in 'Traffic Jam' (Jaws), 'Pig on the Loose' (Superman) and 'Buying Flowers' (Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind). In these instances it's more the use of instruments than any real theme that evoked nostalgia. There's also a huge nod (and wink) to George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody In Blue' on the track 'Night in the City'.

The album contains 25 tracks (1 hr, 19 min, 31 sec). 1 hr, 06 min, 21 sec is actual music, with the final track containing a 13 min, 10 sec audio commentary from Kraemer on his involvement of the project. It was interesting to learn that he not only had a budget for the number of instruments/musicians, so had to carefully work out how to score the tracks, but that he also had to work around the players. As this was designed to be played live while the film ran, he had to schedule everything to ensure that the musicians wouldn't get tired throughout the performance.

This CD release features a detailed booklet-text by Gergely Hubai with artwork by Luis Miguel Rojas. The CD was produced by Stephan Eicke and John Elborg.

A truly beautiful and memorable soundtrack. I don't know how Caldera can top this one.


Darren Rea

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