Composed by: Javier Navarrete
Distributed by: Silva Screen Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the movie Byzantium, Saoirse Ronan is Eleanor Webb, a vampire who, together with her mother Clara (Gemma Aterton), has roamed the Earth for two hundred years. Their secret has been safe for two centuries, but Eleanor's love for a waiter (Caleb Landry Jones) causes her to reveal the truth. It will all come to a head in an old, run-down hotel on the English coast called the Byzantium.
The musical score of Byzantium was created by Spanish composer Javier Navarette who has been composing film scores since his debut in 1987. His musical scores have earned numerous award nominations. Most famous among these is his Academy Award-nominated score for Pan's Labyrinth. He has also created musical scores for such notable films as Mirrors, Brotherhood, Dot the i, Cracks, Hemmingway & Gellhorn and Wrath of the Titans.
The music of Byzantium is orchestral in nature featuring melancholy piano and violin driven themes with ominous undertones. I'm not sure what the high pitched electronic sound is supposed to represent, but I love what Navarrete did for the vampires' thirst. To represent that all-encompassing thirst for blood, Navarrete uses a undulating electronic rattling sound that rises and lowers in pitch and intensity making that feeling of thirst something quite palpable to the listener. I loved the tracks featuring what sounds like a church choir like The Coventry Carol and Clara Immortal. The vocals on this track add a definite ominous feel to the score and the fact that it sounds like lyrics that might be sung in a church is in direct opposition to the subject matter (just an interesting observation).
As the movie...and time...moves forward for the characters, we go from classical music as in tracks like Beethoven's Sonata In C Major, Opus 2, No. 3 - Adagio to the modern rock 'n' roll of electric guitars and heavy percussion like in Blade from Byzantium. Another interesting note for Blade of Byzantum - that striking metallic sound which very much represents the sound of a pendulum blade swinging back and forth...or of someone perhaps sharpening a blade. Very eerie and spine tingling to say the least.
I loved the fact that Javier Navarrete was able to mix in electronic sound with a haunting musical score for this horror flick. Of late, horror scores have become something of a sound effects nightmare, with the electronic sounds and screeching of violin strings taking precedent over an actual musical score. Navarrete masterfully adds some effects to his score without taking away from the music he has composed. Thus, the sound effects are added touches to a hauntingly beautiful, yet ominous score. The Byzantium Soundtrack is a must listen for any music aficionado, whether they be a fan of the horror genre or not.