Composed By: Angelo Badalamenti
Distributed by: MovieScore Media/Kronos Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Based on one of the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, Stalingrad stars Petr Fedorov as Gromov, commander of a group of Soviet reconnaissance troops charged with paving the way to the landing of a larger group of Soviet troops. Occupying a building that also happens to shelter civilian survivors, the troops soon find themselves defending the building from occupation by German troops.
The musical score of Stalingrad was created by American composer Angelo Badalamente. Brooklyn native, Badalmente began his foray into music with piano lessons at the age of eight. By his teens, he was using his talent on the piano on a summer job, accompanying singers at Catskill Mountains resorts. After completing a Master of Arts Degree in composition, French horn and piano, Badalamente began his foray into composing, collaborating on songs and creating music for films like Blue Velvet, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, and more.
The opening track, Stalingrad Theme, features the operatic talents of Anna Netrebko, a dramatic song with somber connotations that perhaps foretells the sadness of the events to come. Being one of the most horrific battles in history, the Battle of Stalingrad reaped terrible losses on both sides of the war. Thus, the somber undertones of this first track are not surprising in the least.
The music of Stalingrad describes the characters and the events surrounding them perfectly. Kahn’s Theme, for example, features loud brass solos and a military gait, describing the General’s military standing. Katya’s Theme features strings and woodwinds and a much softer tone, showing the contrast between the soldiers and the civilians caught in the struggle. Two of my favorite tracks are Men of Fire and Execution and Attack, featuring fast-moving orchestral sound. The album closes with the Stalingrad Theme for Sting Orchestra. This is the same theme from the beginning of the album, minus the singing…not as dramatic as the original track, but striking just the same.
Angelo Badalamente’s score for Stalingrad is an excellent example of telling the story of a film through music. Before I even knew what this film was really about, I understood that the film had a military aspect to it, possibly war, and that underlying it all was a tragic romance. As a stand alone album, Stalingrad is an excellent listen. As an accompaniment to the visuals of the film, the Stalingrad score is quite a dramatic addition that no doubt enhances the movie experience.