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Soundtrack Review

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Munich: The Edge of War
Soundtrack from the Netflix Film


Composer: Isobel Waller-Bridge
Label: Milan Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 21 January 2022

Milan Records releases the soundtrack from the Netflix film Munich: The Edge of War, an album of music by British composer Isobel Waller-Bridge. A tense political drama, it is set in Autumn 1938 when Europe is on the brink of war. Hitler is preparing to invade Czechoslovakia and the British government, led by Neville Chamberlain, is urgently seeking a peaceful solution. With time running out and pressure quickly mounting, two old colleagues - Hugh Legat, a British civil servant and Paul von Hartmann, a German diplomat - travel to Munich for an emergency Conference. They soon find themselves both at the centre of political subterfuge and in very real and present danger. Can war be averted and, if so, at what cost...?

The score to Munich: The Edge of War isn't thematically strong enough to stand as an album of music in its own right, which to be fair, it was never meant to. This is mostly atmospheric cues and a general soundscape. While this works wonderfully in the movie to create the perfect atmosphere, it does mean that it makes for a rather bland listening experience when it's heard without the visuals.

Talking about the soundtrack, composer Isobel Waller-Bridge says: "For this score, I wanted to capture the intensity of the situation and a feeling of the threat of war. I created original sounds from woods and metals that I found in the city where my studio is located. I designed the layers of sound in combination with strings and piano to speak to the foresight of war – the sirens, the shrapnel, old bells and the transmission of codes and information. The fate of these people and their countries is heavy and I wanted to haunt the film with textures that reflect and to some degree anticipate this. Much of the score is minimalist sound design, but very dense as I wanted a close feeling... finally, when the chapter of the film is reached where our protagonists believe they have achieved peace, the score opens up for a sense of relief, but also vulnerability."

The score is book ended by 'You Dream' / 'Du Traumst' English and German versions of the same song performed by Tara Nome Doyle.

There are some wonderfully interesting moments 'The Meeting' and 'Play Your Cards' being obvious tracks of note, but for the most part this is a score that while technically flawless, just feels a little flat when listened to in isolation.


Darren Rea

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