Composed By: Nitin Sawhney

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Marking the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, Breathe is the true story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy) an adventurous young couple who enjoy a fairytale-like courtship before receiving devastating news.  At the age of twenty-age, Robin is confined to a bed, stricken with polio and given only months to live.  With the help of Diana’s twin brothers (Tom Hollander) and inventor Teddy Hall (Hugh Bonneville), Robin and Diana escape the confines of the hospital ward and seek out a full and passionate life, raising their young son, traveling and devoting their lives to helping others stricken with polio.

                The musical score of Breathe was created by British Indian composer, songwriter, club DJ, and multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney.  As a child, Sawhney studied piano, classical and flamenco guitar, sitar and tabla.  After meeting acid-jazz keyboard player James Taylor, he began touring with The James Taylor Quartet before eventually creating his own band.  Sawney dropped out of the university to pursue a career in music.  His solo career began in 1993 with the release of his debut album Spirit Dance.  In addition to performing, recording and composing music for other artists, Sawhney has composed music for over fifty films.  Some of his scoring credits for television, film and video games include Ivor the Invisible, Blindsight, Living Goddess, The Namesake, Heavenly Sword, The Fifth Beatle, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Midnight's Children and The Jungle Book.

                As one listens to the opening tracks of the Breathe Soundtrack, one is overwhelmed by the upbeat, happy emotions that emanate from the orchestral tracks, the dreamy, romantic quality of the harps and the fun nature of the music that serves to describe the young couple in love.  Things become darker with Track 5, Getting Ill, becoming lower in registry and more somber in sound.  The next couple of tracks emanate with the depression Robin feels when he becomes sick and believes that his life will soon be over.  But the music takes an upward turn with the Hospital Escape.  Back again are the playful orchestral tracks, touched by jazz that hints at the era in which the story takes place. 

                The musical score of Breathe is incredibly beautiful and complex, perfectly describing the emotions of the film and the dramatic swings in this couple’s life from finding one another, to nearly losing Robin to a disease, to regaining control of their lives and living them to the fullest.  The score is uplifting, adding to the uplifting story of Robin and Diana Cavendish perfectly.  Nitin Sawhney has created a terrific score well worth the listen.


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