Musical Score By: Marcelo Zarvos

Distributed by: Sony Classical and Madison Gate Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Fences is a dramatic film directed by Denzel Washington and adapted from a screenplay and a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, both by August WilsonFences tells the story of Troy Maxson, a Pittsburgh sanitation worker who had always wanted to be a major league baseball player.  Unfortunately, when the major leagues finally began signing blacks to play, Maxson had already aged out of contention.  Though he tries to be a good husband and father, the bitterness of losing out on his dream builds within and influences a decision that threatens to destroy his family.

                The musical score of Fences was created by Brazilian composer Marcelo Zarvos.  Having begun his training studying classical music, Zarvos later expanded his musical horizons, studying jazz, rock and world music.  This expansion in his studies aided him in creating his trademark sound, a blending of several types of music with ethnic and electronic sound that always seems to express the emotions of any given scene.  Some of his scoring credits include Brooklyn’s Finest, Enough Said, The Choice, Taking Chance, The Affair, Ray Donovan, Rock the Kasbah, and Cell.

                I received a six-track sampling of the Fences Soundtrack and found it to be as emotionally dramatic as I would expect a Marcelo Zarvos score to be.  Pianos are at the forefront here, supported by strings.  The score is somewhat sad, perhaps owing to Troy Maxson’s pain at not being able to attain his dreams.  The theme of Cory, Troy’s son, (Cory's Theme) is somewhat louder and features other instruments, including a xylophone, perhaps a nod toward happier times in the Maxson family’s life.  They Could Do Nothing for Her begins with a percussion heartbeat and moves into the sound of a ticking clock.  This track is quite sad and perhaps speaks toward eminent death or loss.

                Overall, the selected music I sampled from the Fences Soundtrack is everything I would expect from Marcelo Zarvos – an emotionally driven score with a somewhat simplistic style speaking to the timeframe of the film.  In listening to this sample, I have no doubt that the rest of the soundtrack is equally dramatic and a perfect accompaniment to the visuals of the film.


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