Romeo and Juliet: Love At First Listen

“Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O any thing, of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! This love feel I, that feel no love in this.” -William Shakespeare (From the book Romeo and Juliet)

If thou hast read the sprawling text above, then thou may as well knowest that they convey my deep feelings of affection for this tragically gorgeous work of musical art.

The 2013 movie was yet, another remake of the Shakespearean classic; Romeo and Juliet.
Polish composer, Abel Korzeniowski was chosen to take on this project. Korzeniowski is still, as of yet, a somewhat obscure composer having only composed for a few projects (A Single Man, W.E., Copernicus' Star, etc.).
The album is infused with classical Shakespearean sounding orchestra, wordless soaring female vocals, and heartbreaking piano arpeggios heard in the cues,  The Cheek of Night, Trooping With Crows, and Juliet's Dream most notably.
The main love theme heard in the cue, First Kiss, is a tragic piano theme with a crescendo underscore of strings. An organic sounding violin theme comes to play in the 6 minute cue, A Thousand Times Good Night, as the strings and a piano bellows dramatically in the background.
Several cues seem to pay composer Patrick Doyle laud, given he worked on several Shakespeare films (Henry V, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, etc).
The real moving female vocals are heard in the cue, Wedding Vows. After that the real thematic material starts in the following cue, Fortunes Fool. Frenetic percussion supports the fast-paced strings and wordless choir creating a sense of foreboding while the organic sounding violin is heard once again.
The darker material is heard in the cues, The Crypt Parts 1 and 2 *spoiler alert* as the love-laden couple dies together (But we already knew that was going to happen, so it isn't much of a spoiler, right?).
The theme is then gloriously revised, choir and all, in the final cue, Eternal Love.
In closing, is this one of the best soundtracks alone? No, but it is one of the best I've heard for any score accompanying a Shakespearean film. Korzeniowski did not only do what he was supposed to do, but even better!
“Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.” -William Shakespeare (From the book Romeo and Juliet)

Best Cue(s)

  • First Kiss
  • A Thousand Times Goodnight
  • Trooping With Crows
  • Wedding Vows
  • Eternal Love
Rating: ****1/2


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