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Waltz with Bashir @ the Barbican Hall - a chilling and suspenseful account of the 1982 Lebanon War

I've already written a post about how much I like Max Richter's music. Amongst his many works, Richter has composed a score for the Golden Globe-winning animated film, Waltz with Bashir created by Ari Folman. The film follows a 19 year old soldier in the Israeli Defence Force who attempts to discover his lost memories from the 1982 Lebanon War, many of which are traumatising and painful. The score was performed recently by the vibrant and diverse orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra at the Barbican Hall.

Richter's score for this film is incredibly eclectic, taking the view on a journey through a wide range of different genres of music from modern dance and percussive electronic to romantic classical. For example, the 'Haunted Ocean' features a beautiful, sweeping orchestra progressively building up in its musical intensity - it is a haunting piece, befitting of situations the film is presenting. At times, this piece reminds me of Michael Nyman and Philip Glass' continuous minimalist passages.

Haunted Oceans:

And then there is the piece, 'Boaz and the Dogs.' When I listen to this piece, I feel like I'm in one of those high-end nightclubs at 4AM in the morning... dawn is just about to break through and tiredness is trying to pull me down. The music continues to push through and I want to grip onto it further. I think as a dance piece, it really works and in the film, the piece greatly emanates the torment faced by the nightmares with frightening dogs.

Boaz and the Dogs:

The electronic pulsation and rhythms further develops in speed, volume and agression in the action-stimulating pieces, 'Taxi and APC,' and 'Any Minute Now - Thinking Back.' The drums in the background recreates sounds of shooting guns. In 'Any Minute Now - Thinking Back,' there is then an eery strings passage at the end as if the perpetuators are reflecting what they've just done.

Taxi and APC:

Any Minute Now - Thinking Back:

The eery passages continue in pieces, 'Iconography' and 'What Have They done?' featuring a synthesised church organ and harmonious cello lines. These pieces make you feel solemn and regretful, again very befitting of the situations in the film.

Overall, I would highly recommend seeing this film (sadly not many live performances of the score exists) - the music just adds so much to it. I do love my anime and can understand how animated films can be so emotional. Definitely this one is up there in terms of making you feel a heavy weight on your shoulders.

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