Film Music Review
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Film Music Review (Volumes 1-7)





Äideistä parhain (MOTHER OF MINE) (2005)

Music composed by Tuomas Kantilinen.

22 Tracks (Playing Time = 38:25)

Orchestrations and conducting by Matt Dunkley and Tuomas Kantilinen. English horn solos by David Theodore. Trumpet solos by Maurice Murphy. Piano solos by Simon Chamberlain and Tuomas Kantilinen. Music recorded and mixed at Air Studios by Geoff Foster.

Miracle Records MIR-101

Rating: ****

Mother of Mine (i.e. Äideistä parhain) was premiered last fall at the Toronto Film Festival and is Finland’s nominee for this year’s Foreign Language Oscar. The film, directed by Klaus Haro, provides a window into an unusual episode in Finnish history during World War II when over 70,000 Finnish children were evacuated to Sweden and “adopted” by families there. The story of one of those children, Eero, puts a more personal thrust to this historical episode. The score is from relative newcome, to American audiences, Tuomas Kantelinen. Kantelinen writes mostly for Finnish cinema and has twice won the Finnish Jussi Award for Best film score, and has been nominated twice for best score. He seems to provide scores for many period war dramas. More recently he provided music for Renny Harlin’s latest thriller, Mindhunters.

“Train Trip” which opens the disc is a fascinating blend of music that is part Williams, part Desplat, and part Kaczmarek. This is then Kantilenen’s approach to this film which is filled with gorgeous thematic writing that melts your heart. It is in some respects a very old-fashioned sound but with more intriguing harmonic shifts. Rather than generic ostinato patterns, musical lines just flow out from the material. The orchestration for full orchestra has beautiful writing for English horn and trumpet with an occasional piano line added into the texture. Kantelinen transfers his melodic line so effortlessly from one solo instrument to another that one forgets how difficult this is to pull off well.

This is a rich score that gives the best Hollywood efforts a real run for their money. The emotional depth plumbed here has wonderful touches and sweeps of melody that bring across Eero’s inner turmoil. The score itself has the kind of sweep of Seven Years in Tibet with the emotional depth of Schindler’s List and lyrical writing like Girl With A Pearl Earring.

In the brief “Life Is Beautiful,” the deep orchestral sound breaks away for a simple piano statement that is achingly wonderful. Throughout, Mother of Mine is reminiscent of those grand orchestral scores that sweep you along with their screen images becoming indelibly linked together. There are longer tracks which allow Kantelinen a chance to expand his musical ideas, but he is extremely adept at communicating the deepest sigh with just a brush stroke of a few seconds. The album is sequenced though so that one does not end up having something just stop. Each track is shaped musically and engages your ear with the lush melodic ideas and subtle orchestral colors. At times, the score has the kind of orchestral string swath of a Barry epic. The emotion of “Surrendering” mixes strong dissonant chord structures that grow only to be separated by independent lines before the strong Mother theme returns anchoring the cue.

Mother of Mine is one of those scores worth seeking out. It is a score that reminds one of the power music brings to a film and the kind of personally moving musical experience a score can be on its own.


--Steven A. Kennedy, 18 January 2006

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