Musical Score By: Michael Brook
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Filmed in 3D for IMAX and Giant Screen theaters, the documentary, Jerusalem, brings its audience to one of the world’s most beloved cities. Sacred to those of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith, Jerusalem is a tiny piece of land that means so much to so many people. In the film, Dr. Jodi Magness, a renowned archeologist, travels underground to solve the city’s greatest mysteries, giving the audience unprecedented access to the city’s holiest sites and rare footage of the Old City.
The musical score of Jerusalem was created by Canadian producer, recording artist and composer Michael Brook. Known for his unique style and willingness to delve into and blend various types of music, Brook began his career as a recording artist and guitar player, working with artists like Brian Eno, David Sylvian, The Pogues, Ali Kahn and more. His music began to be licensed to films like Heat and Any Given Sunday and Brook became interested in the art of film scoring. Since then, he has created musical score for such notable films as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Fighter, Into the Wild, Chavez, An Inconvenient Truth, Undefeated and Brooklyn.
Such a documentary of epic proportions, filmed to awe the audience as well as inform them, demands a score that is awe-inspiring. And yet, the score had to be neutral, never taking a side of one religion or another and at the same time representing the country. According to Michael Brook, “The filmmakers took great care with the film because Jerusalem is obviously a place that many people have strong, and differing, opinions about. They were very careful to not load things emotionally or politically. The goal was to inform people and give some historic background about how this particular spot on earth came to be so important to many people – important to the three major religions, which though they overlap in some ways, are usually regarded as particularly different or distinct…There was a strong desire on the part of Daniel [Ferguson, director] and producers, for the score to be a balancing act -- to both invoke emotion through the score and at the same time, never take sides on anything. To do that was a unique challenge.”
In an effort to maintain that neutrality, but represent the ethnicity of the area, Brook created a score that uses traditional strings and percussion, like the harp and the dulcimer, and manipulated them so they didn’t represent any one particular lineage. The resulting score is up-tempo with no ominous undertones or dark moments creeping in. The guitars and strings evoke a beauty and serenity and there are no real ethnic sounds until one comes to the tenth track on the album, entitled Holy Land.
The Jerusalem Soundtrack presents the listening with a beautiful score and fans of a well-played guitar (like myself) will really enjoy the peaceful beauty of the music created by Michael Brook. The Jerusalem Soundtrack is definitely well-worth the listen.