Crimson Peak - Fernando Velazquez
What You Will Hear: Whether they are sinister or lovely, the strings are the focus here. The main theme often utilizes accompanying piano, but woodwinds and brass rarely show up. Standard horror effects are also rare.
Standout Tracks: Edith’s Theme, My Mother’s Funeral, Buffalo, Optician, Return To Your Ghost, Lullaby Variation, Lucille & Showdown, Finale, Credits
Will You Be Humming Along? Yes, Edith’s theme is wonderful. Check out “Edith’s Theme” for solo cello and “Allerdale Hall” a full ensemble version.
The score this makes me want to dust off: The Girl With the Pearl Earring – Alexandre Desplat
Will I come back to it? Yes. I was surprised by how tender (and even playful) this score often sounds. Velazquez’s writing for the strings is dark and beautiful. While always dramatic, the strings are never overbearing. In fact, there is a constant tension created through fantastic chord structure and voicing; never through effects. The absence of said effects is really wonderful. This score relies completely on the composer's string writing to achieve the appropriate scares. There are even tracks (waltzes) heavily influenced by the time period, as well. I expected horror and effects, but the majority of this score is obviously a love story. The over abundance of delicate cues makes each of the ghost tracks all that more powerful. You’ll be relaxed and then slapped in the face by “Ghost I.” The first two thirds of this score follow that pattern: romance with the occasional ghost encounter. The final third of Crimson Peak finally dives into full-on horror territory. However, it continues to shy away from effects and sticks with deep dark strings. See “The Gramophone” for a fantastic example. It all comes to a head with “Lucille & Showdown.” This concluding encounter is over ten minutes of strings at their scariest, with the low brass finally showing up to heighten the intensity. Yes, you’ll hear some effects, but they’re always organic and never distracting. Fernando Velazquez is quickly establishing himself as one of the next big names in film scoring. Crimson Peak is wonderful mix of love and terror that never loses sight of the orchestra’s ability to do it all. I will be returning often, and anxiously await the next entry Velazquez’s skyrocketing career.