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Fargo
(1996)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:

Violin Solos by:
Paul Peabody
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LABEL & RELEASE DATE
TVT Records
(March 8th, 1996)
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ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Regular U.S. release.
Awards
AWARDS
None.
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ALSO SEE




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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are absolutely prepared for the sparse, solemn demeanor of Carter Burwell's highly effective but depressing fiddle-defined score.

Avoid it... if you expect the score to convey any of the black humor of the film, because Burwell's intent was to play Fargo with a serious, morbid tone despite the strangely lyrical nature of his adapted title theme.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,562
WRITTEN 7/8/10
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BUY IT



Burwell
Burwell
Fargo: (Carter Burwell) Black comedies, especially those as sick as Joel and Ethan Coen's Fargo, are rarely universally acclaimed by critics and destined for box office success. But the visual of seeing one man shove another through a wood-chipper was just one of the reasons the 1996 film became a monumental hit. The Coen brothers nailed the comedy element by playing the ridiculous atmosphere of their plot as seriously as possible, even stirring up some controversy by claiming that the story was based on true events (debate about the legitimacy of that claim has always remained). A pregnant police chief from Minnesota investigates a string of crimes that leads back to a local car dealer who has hired a pair of thugs to kidnap his wife and demand a ransom from her rich father. Not everything goes as planned on the way to the wood-chipper, however, and nearly everyone in the cast is either killed or arrested. More important than the story is the Coens' portrayal of people and locations from Minnesota and North Dakota, an arguably unflattering bloating of anything denoting Scandinavian origins and the formidably bleak environment. Everything about Fargo is grim, and yet it is the homely affability of the film that lends it a sense of charm. Also playing the story with an absolutely serious tone was composer Carter Burwell, who has been a regular collaborator with the Coens for three decades. His intent was to capture what he deemed "the desperate cheerfulness" of the characters, serving up a sparse score that is strangely lyrical while at the same time depressingly alienating in its simple instrumentation. By addressing the crime drama with a score equally morbid, it in turn accentuates the comedy of the hapless story. Intriguingly, he once compared his work for Fargo to Miklós Rózsa's small orchestral music for the 1946 low-budget crime film The Killers. He was keenly aware that Fargo makes significant cultural references (beyond even the famous spoken accents taught to the cast members by a dialect coach), and he therefore started researching Scandinavian folk music before the film was far along. He settled on the use of the hardanger fiddle as the primary instrumental identity and sculpted his title theme for the film after a Norweigan folk tuned called "The Lost Sheep." The melody of that song is traditionally quite beautiful, but Burwell altered its progressions and tone to match the less enticing atmosphere of the bizarre circumstances on screen.



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VIEWER RATINGS
107 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 2.93 Stars
***** 16 5 Stars
**** 24 4 Stars
*** 25 3 Stars
** 21 2 Stars
* 21 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 43:05
Fargo:
• 1. Fargo, North Dakota (2:49)
• 2. Moose Lake (0:41)
• 3. A Lot of Woe (0:54)
• 4. Forced Entry (1:23)
• 5. The Ozone (0:58)
• 6. The Trooper's End (1:04)
• 7. Chewing On It (0:54)
• 8. Rubbernecking (2:06)
• 9. Dance of the Sierra (1:25)
• 10. The Mallard (1:02)
• 11. Delivery (4:48)
• 12. Bismark, North Dakota (1:05)
• 13. Paul Bunyon (0:34)
• 14. The Eager Beaver (3:14)
• 15. Brainerd, Minnesota (2:41)
• 16. Safe Keeping (1:45)
Barton Fink:
• 17. Fade In (1:08)
• 18. Big Shoes (1:33)
• 19. Love Theme From Barton Fink (1:21)
• 20. Barton in Shock (1:58)
• 21. Typing Montage (2:12)
• 22. The Box (3:06)
• 23. Barton in Flames (0:58)
• 24. Fade Out - The End (3:37)

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NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 2010-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
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 Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Fargo are Copyright © 1996, TVT Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/8/10 (and not updated significantly since).
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