Carol - Carter Burwell
What You Will Hear: Clarinet, double reeds, piano, vibes, and string orchestra. There’s also a collection of jazz and doo-wop tunes mixed in with the score.
Standout Tracks: Opening, One Mint Julep, Christmas Trees, The Train, Lovers, Letter, Crossing, The End
Will You Be Humming Along? Yes, there is a simple but wonderful melody and an equally similar countermelody that also appears on its own from time to time.
The score this makes me want to dust off: Mr. Holmes - Carter Burwell
Will I come back to it? Yes. Carol is a quiet and soothing score, but the album is dominated by a sense of trepidation. The wide use of minor intervals and chords throughout keeps even the brighter moments weighed down. Whether performed by the woodwinds (Opening), or the strings (Letter) the thematic material is a masterpiece of simplicity. I was especially touched by the secondary theme; just a few notes at a measured pace work wonderfully. When not performing center stage, the strings spend most of the score rolling between neighbor tones and this does a nice job to keep the score moving. Without this technique, I think it would have proved too dark for my taste. The period specific tunes fit in nicely, offering a contrast to the muted instrumentation of the orchestra. From start to finish, Burwell gives us a score that is always pretty, but never at ease; playful but dark. I found these contradicting characteristics to be quite mesmerizing.