Music Webmaster Len Mullenger



Carter BURWELL Gods and Monsters  OST     RCA 09026 63356 2 [33:44]


Crotchet (UK)


Amazon (USA)

At last! A film music CD with a booklet that offers an insight into the music and the composer’s intentions! Gods and Monsters could bring Oscar glory to Ian McKellan, as James Whale, the legendary Hollywood film director /producer of such classics of the horror genre as Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Old Dark House and The Invisible Man. The director of the present film, Bill Condon, makes the point that when James Whale commissioned Franz Waxman to compose the music for The Bride of Frankenstein, he asked of Waxman, "Nothing will be resolved in this picture. Will you write an unresolved score for it?" Carter Burwell, one of Hollywood’s more individual composers, and best known for his collaborations with the Coen brothers, has produced music that would have fulfilled this brief. Rather than going for the obvious variations on the original celebrated Franz Waxman score, or opting for electronics, he uses a spare palate, a restrained, understated, and string-driven score that is mostly melancholic and meditative, often employing long sustained chords.

Burwell cleverly creates a sad, demoralised, desolate waltz that he associates with the horrors of the trenches in World War II, and, by implication, it is a dirge for the old European culture that war destroyed. The waltz in "Lucky Man" seems to stick in one phrase and one note seems to be an anguished cry for help. It transmogrifies into another horror of Whale’s creation - Frankenstein’s monster. This metamorphosis becomes clear in the cue "Frankenwhale" which is the only real crescendo in the score with its heavy tread and suggestion of the threat of the monster and its awful power. It is only in the final cue "Friend?" that the waltz shows any warmth.

An imaginative score but not one that many would chose for repeated listening, as music per se, it is too gloomy and spends too much time dwelling in dark places.


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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