Innocence/ Adventures at Sea – Gustav Hoyer (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If you think that classical music is a thing of the past or the elitist domain of a select few, then you only need to look to film scores to see where it is thriving most in the modern age. Few of us might find ourselves listening to sweeping symphonies or ornate orchestrations live in a grand opera house or music hall, but we all find ourselves immersed in film, even if it is from the comfort of our own sofa.

And it is for this environment that composer, Gustav Hoyer works. Writing and recording with The Budapest Film Orchestra, Hoyer’s music would be as at home amongst the great compositions of the Romantic period as it is in the modern film industry and his latest release Innocence, captures all of the dream-like qualities of both eras.

It sweeps and chimes, washes upwards into wonderful crescendos, ebbs back into lulling interludes, wanders from the breath-taking and bombastic to the soulful and soothing. Like all orchestral compositions, it explores every corner of the sonic spectrum, telling a story with its undulating sounds in a way that mere words and lyrics would find hard to compete with.

By contrast, previous release, Adventure at Sea, is a rollicking and rolling symphonic shanty, everything that the title suggests. Again wandering between sonic peaks and troughs but the peaks here more towering, the troughs more turbulent, threaded through with intriguing brass punctuation and shimmering, menacing percussion. High seas high adventure in all its galloping glory made into music.

Film scorers often have a thankless task. We focus on the actors and the action, the scenes and the sensations on the screen in front of us, without acknowledging how much of that tension is heightened or the sentiment sweetened by the music which threads its way through the film like a sonic backdrop.

Next time you watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster or art-house noir, make a note of what the music is doing and appreciate how skilful the musicians and the composer are at driving the action. Composers like Gustav Hoyer.

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