Music Composed by: Stuart Hancock
Distributed by: Moviescore Media
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
It’s not very often that I receive a soundtrack for a short film. Usually, I receive soundtracks for feature films, television shows, musicals or documentaries. When I was sent the soundtrack for Hawk, one look at the album’s cover had me intrigued, but it wasn’t until after I listened to the soundtrack and then researched the film that I realized what I was actually dealing with.
The 38-minute film called Hawk was filmed entirely in Wales and revolves around a young boy named Rowan (Steffan Thomas) who has spent his entire youth with his reclusive grandfather. Entertained by stories of Celtic folklore, Rowan retreats to this fantasy world when his only connection to the outside world falls prey to a bitterly cold Welsh winter. Submerged in this Celtic folklore fantasy world, Rowan finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime, with a hunting hawk his only guide.
The musical score of Hawk was created by composer Stuart Hancock, whose musical career may very well have begun when he learned how to play the piano at the age of eight. By ten years old, he had learned the violin. He eventually began writing his own music while in school, but didn’t take it seriously, deciding instead on a geography degree. After attending the London College of Music, he got a job creating jingles and the rest is history. Since then, he has composed music the silent film, Lucky Star, as well as feature films like Underground, Bodyguard: A New Beginning and One Night in Turin.
Listening to this film, I could imagine an epic adventure in the style of Hawk the Slayer, Krull, Excalibur and Lord of the Rings. The music is striking, featuring a full orchestra and choir. Harps are used to enhance the fantasy element of the film. In order to achieve this dramatic, epic feel, Hancock enlisted the aid of the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, the Welsh choir Serendipity and Catrin Finch, the former harpist to the Prince of Wales. According to Hancock, “Live human voices can deliver raw emotion and drama as well as scale to a soundtrack like nothing else can.” The lyrics sung by the choir are taken from a 6th Century Welsh poet and bard and performed in the original medieval Welsh language, setting the tone for the film and giving it an exotic feel.
The Hawk Soundtrack features a bonus track called The Legend of Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed. Philip Madoc, who also appears in the film as Gawain, narrates this track. I loved listening to this Welsh legend brought to life through Madoc’s inflection. I could imagine Rowan’s grandfather telling him of this tale seated beside a glowing fire in the woods, Rowan’s eyes bright with rapt attention, hanging onto his grandfather’s every word.
The fact that this musical score was written for a film that is only 38 minutes in length was amazing to me. It had the epic feel of a feature film and had the effect of immersing me in a world full of mystery and adventure. I was very impressed with Stuart Hancock’s work and would definitely recommend fans of films like the Lord of the Rings check out the Hawk Soundtrack. They won’t be disappointed!