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Music Review: Nico Muhly – The Reader Soundtrack

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The Reader is a film that has received five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress for Kate Winslet. Getting away from the topic at hand, this is Winslet’s sixth nomination and if there was ever a person that deserves to win, she is it.

An accompanying soundtrack album has now been released. The music was composed by Nico Muhly. He is a 28 year old graduate of Columbia University and the Julliard School of Music. This was his fourth movie project but the first time he has been entrusted with the music for a major film.

The Reader Soundtrack is an album of what can best be described as mood music. As with soundtrack albums of this type, it helps a great deal if you have seen the movie so you can place the songs in context. If you have not seen the movie then the album will fall into the easy listening category and would be perfect for background at a dinner party or the like.

Most of the tracks make use of a single piano for their foundation with strings, occasional flutes, and (I am guessing) oboes filling in the blank spaces.

The album begins with “The Egg” which starts with a gentle piano sound. The focus is on individual notes with subtle strings in support. This song sets the tone for the eighteen tracks that follow.

“Spying” features a flute flowing in and out of various stringed instruments. “The First Bath” contains more weaving of a piano sound with some violins. “You Don’t Matter” creates a somber mood. Here again I think oboes, and strings run counterpoint to the piano sound. “Cycling Holiday” has more of a grand sound than the other tracks as the strings rather than the keyboards dominate. “Go Back To Your Friends” is another strings dominated track with a plaintive flute joining in.

The Reader Soundtrack does not try to over reach and become something that it is not. Its main duty was to support the film and that it does well. On its own it is a pleasant if light listen.

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About David Bowling

  • Ben

    This is a terrible review! it’s main duty was to state the obvious, and that it does well.