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Section Header
Anonymous
(2011)
Composed and Produced by:
Thomas Wanker
Harald Kloser

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
James Brett

Co-Orchestrated by:
Marcus Trumpp
Adam Langston

Label:
Madison Gate Records

Release Date:
October 25th, 2011

Also See:
10,000 B.C.
The Day After Tomorrow
2012

Audio Clips:
2. The Succession (0:31):
WMA (211K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

10. Arrest Them (0:32):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

13. Bedding the Queen (0:27):
WMA (179K)  MP3 (224K)
Real Audio (158K)

18. Will's Triumph (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release, primarily distributed via download but also availabile through Amazon.com's "CDr on demand" service.

Awards:
  None.









Anonymous

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Sales Rank: 89959


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Buy it... if the prior film music of Harald Kloser and Thomas Wanker has somehow managed to appeal to you in its often respectfully understated forms, because the composers do offer their conservative techniques in a palatable package here.

Avoid it... if you expect the orchestral, choral, and solo cello expressions of this score's several themes to ever congeal into a convincing narrative, the composers' tendency to aimlessly meander once again evident.



Kloser
Anonymous: (Thomas Wanker/Harald Kloser) Few in the mainstream know or care about the long-standing scholarly debate about Shakespearean authorship, one that has for more than a century argued about the possibility that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon never actually wrote any of the famous plays attributed to his name. Among the most popular of these alternatives is the Oxfordian theory, one that postulates that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was actually the true author behind the plays. The vast majority of historians remain loyal to the traditional authorial attribution of these works, all of whom citing overwhelming evidence in favor of Shakespeare's ownership of the plays, but the opposition to that notion has finally built enough momentum for director and producer Roland Emmerich to support its theory in the 2011 film Anonymous. Such a serious topic was a major departure for Emmerich, known primarily for ridiculous endeavors in the disaster genre, though his personal passion about Oxfordian theory kept him in development of Anonymous for most of a decade. His detractors have slammed the film for perpetuating the same kind of nonsensical historical inaccuracies that plagued 10,000 B.C., and those unfriendly to Oxfordian theory have jumped all over the movie's premise and smaller perceived mistakes in execution. From its $30 million budget for the picture, Sony hoped to use strong word of mouth out of the film festival circuit to expand Anonymous to a wider release, but after critics eventually overlooked its qualities due to a dismissal of the overall premise, the movie failed to recoup even half of that budget worldwide. The context of the postulation is one of political intrigue, showing Edward de Vere's interest in the ongoing battle between the Tudors and the Cecils in a unique way. He used his plays (through the name of Shakespeare, an actor) as political tools to sway Elizabethan audiences to favor the line of succession of his choice, with perilous results. Given that Anonymous could easily have resided on stage instead of screen, the role of the soundtrack is somewhat limited. Emmerich turned to his usual collaborator, Harald Kloser, for the score, despite the fact that the composer did not extend his duties on this project to writing and producing (as he had done before). Kloser, in turn, brought on board his writing partner, Thomas Wanker (still going by his more recent screen credit of Thomas Wander, for obvious reasons), who in some cases is shown as receiving primary compositional credit for Anonymous.

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The Kloser/Wanker pairing for Emmerich's films over the previous decade never produced stellar results, though 10,000 B.C. could be considered a dynamic powerhouse if not for its blindingly obvious plagiarism issues. Most of their scores are conversely quite boring, respectfully pretty in parts but never featuring clear narratives in their conservative original themes. In essence, they write background music of a non-offensive kind for their assignments, and that approach is once again the case for Anonymous. There are hints of period flavor in this score, a hurdy gurdy and light percussive rhythms in vintage waltz form offering occasional connections to common conceptions of the era's music. Choral interludes command some grace and stature, though in limited doses. A solo cello at times expresses the lament of the relational complications in the plot, and a solo voice is barely audible as mixed into one instance. Otherwise, Anonymous receives a fairly bland soundscape, strings carrying most of the load. Kloser and Wanker have a tendency to express meaningless motifs in their work, and much of this score meanders through a similar haze. In its favor, however, are a handful of themes that struggle to establish themselves as much as their character representations do on screen. Edward de Vere receives a solemn theme consisting of surprisingly tentative and cold two-note phrases, reminiscent of Tan Dun's similarly elusive structures. Summarized in "Edward's Theme," this idea permeates portions of "Edward's Breakdown" and "The Other One," among others. More interesting is the composers' idea for the Queen, heard romantically in "Soul of the Age" and "Bedding the Queen" and hinted more ominously in "She Had Your Child" and "You Stay in England." The plays and Shakespearean legend receive a prancing theme that culminates in "Will's Triumph." Several other motifs fail to develop to satisfactory levels, though, including those that inform the choral magnificence of "The Succession" and "God Save the Queen." These performances bleed over into "Arrest Them," the most impressive (and vaguely Craig Armstrong-like) merging of choir and action rhythms in the score. The tumultuous movement of the suspense technique extends into "Bursting In" and "It's a Trap" (cue the Mon Calamari admiral), the latter the only truly muscular passage in the score. Ultimately, the choral and solo cello cues in Anonymous are its only lasting highlights, "The Succession" and "Soul of the Age" providing five minutes of pleasantly engaging material. Outside of these fleeting moments, however, Kloser and Wanker once again fail to yield convincingly emotional appeal in their effectively functional but sadly underachieving tone. ***   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download




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Regular Average: 2.68 Stars
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 40:06


• 1. She Had Your Child (2:09)
• 2. The Succession (2:15)
• 3. Edward's Breakdown (1:41)
• 4. Hamlet in the Rain (1:24)
• 5. Soul of the Age (3:10)
• 6. You Stay in England (1:08)
• 7. God Save the Queen (2:59)
• 8. Play After Play (2:35)
• 9. The Voices (1:22)
• 10. Arrest Them (1:54)
• 11. Edward's Theme (1:33)
• 12. Words Will Prevail (1:34)
• 13. Bedding the Queen (1:17)
• 14. Bursting In (1:23)
• 15. William Shake-Speare (2:56)
• 16. It's a Trap (2:37)
• 17. Day of the Play (5:22)
• 18. Will's Triumph (1:29)
• 19. The Other One (1:19)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes no extra information about the score or film. As in many of Amazon.com's "CDr on demand" products, the packaging smells incredibly foul when new. This one is particularly pungent in its tremendously offensive dose of chemical stink.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Anonymous are Copyright © 2011, Madison Gate Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/9/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.