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Section Header
Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
Carter Burwell

Lead Solos by:
Lizzie Pattinson
David Torn
Kaki King
Dave Hartley


Release Date:
December 9th, 2008

Also See:
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

Audio Clips:
2. Who Are They? (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

12. Dinner With His Family (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

14. Bella's Lullaby (0:28):
WMA (188K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

15. Nomads (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release. A song compilation soundtrack was released concurrently.


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Buy it... only if you are a teenage girl seeking another souvenir from the film or if you are already accustomed to Carter Burwell's unconventional harmonies and structures from his prior, equally dense works.

Avoid it... if any score with exploding, groaning, and shrieking electric guitars in monumental crescendos of dissonance is automatically eliminated from your consideration.

Twilight: (Carter Burwell) The vampire subculture in America received an infusion of blood upon the arrival of Stephanie Meyer's novel "Twilight," filling a literary void left by the conclusion of the "Harry Potter" series of books. The immense popularity of Meyer's concept translated into mega-earnings at the box office for its 2008 adaptation to the big screen. Films like Twilight do well no matter what critics or arthouse crowds or awards voters think about it, because such cult-status films serve a very specific crowd of teenage girls that frankly don't care about what any of those demographics think. One aspect of Twilight worth noting is that Meyer took many generous liberties in her reinvention of the vampire myth in order to squeeze it into a high school romance setting without sounding any alarms in the logic department. The story, regardless of the fantasy elements, is still essentially one of teenage angst, social outcasts, and cultural commentary that are all common to the less creative variety of high school-related flicks. At least the slasher concept has morphed into something a tad more romantic. The director of Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke, proudly exclaims that she considers the topic to be one of great density and complexity and was thrilled to hear a score of equal description to come from veteran composer Carter Burwell. While skirting the mainstream in the 1990's, Burwell's output in the 2000's has never accompanied anything close to blockbuster status and, as such, Twilight represented a significant opportunity for him (especially with the prospect of sequel films looming on the horizon). His writing has never lent itself to straight forward harmony, making it difficult to hum even his most memorable tunes (such as those for Conspiracy Theory and The Hi-Lo Country), and that lack of clearly defined thematic expression is apparently what Hardwicke praised the most about Burwell's work for this film. His meter, progressions, and slightly dissonant chords all figure into his primary theme for Twilight, thus extending his rather distant style into yet another genre. The same tendencies inhabit the music for the darker half of Twilight, though this material usually disintegrates into nonsensical textures for the instruments he employs to represent the supposed coolness of the vampires.

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All of these usual Burwell techniques form a score that is indeed dense and stylish in modern textures, but one that is so troubling in its expressions that it's not the kind of music that anybody other than devoted fans of either the composer or the "Twilight" concept will be able to tolerate for very long. Without question, Twilight is a score of two personalities, and it's not hard to imagine why. The romantic half is anchored by "Bella's Lullaby," a piece that Burwell wrote to convey his own loss of a girlfriend (though she eventually became his wife anyway) and applied by chance to this picture with effective results. This theme, primarily performed on piano and acoustic guitar, is sensitive enough to represent the Bella character, but as with Burwell's other more harmonious themes, he leaves enough discomfort in its structure to keep it once again from being truly memorable. He does work the idea into several cues in Twilight, sometimes in creative rock-related guises. But even its final performance in "Edward at Her Bed," the theme's awkward structure restrains its obvious heart. The second half of the score underlines the alternately cool and somewhat frightening culture of the vampires, and this is where Burwell will lose most film music collectors. His obnoxious rock-inspired motifs for the group on electric guitars and other grating elements are given textures that suit them adequately, though the lack of fluid movements in Burwell's rhythms keeps this material from being listenable. The score flips wildly between its two halves, with seemingly little common ground to save the album experience. The startling transition from "Bella's Lullaby" to the completely unlistenable "Nomads" is nightmare inducing. The shrieking and pounding dissonance of the darker half of Twilight leaves little reward for those attempting to access the already difficult lullaby. Whatever sense of delicate humanity on piano, harp, and guitar representing Bella Swan and her effect on Edward Cullen is completely overshadowed by the drum kit and electric guitars of the other vampires, leaving no room for really intelligent mingling of the textures. Overall, Twilight makes no strides towards acceptance in the mainstream, and Burwell's music reflects that same devotion to a single crowd. The album is far too disjointed in the battle of two musical styles to create any kind of coherent listening experience. ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Carter Burwell reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 2.84 (in 19 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 2.72 (in 10,141 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.48 Stars
Smart Average: 2.63 Stars*
***** 84 
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    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
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   FVSR Reviews Twilight
  Brendan Cochran -- 3/17/15 (11:41 p.m.)
   Almost everything about Twilight sucks
  Alans Zimvestri -- 8/30/09 (4:15 a.m.)
   Re: Could Have Been Better
  Filmscore Boy -- 6/27/09 (8:31 a.m.)
   Re: Could Have Been Better
  Chris Kou -- 2/13/09 (9:26 a.m.)
   Re: Could Have Been Better
  Jonathan Broxton -- 1/5/09 (5:24 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 46:53

• 1. How I Would Die (1:53)
• 2. Who Are They? (3:26)
• 3. Treaty (1:59)
• 4. Phascination Phase (2:04)
• 5. Humans Are Predators Too (2:04)
• 6. I Dreamt of Edward (1:06)
• 7. I Know What You Are (2:37)
• 8. The Most Dangerous Predator (2:22)
• 9. The Skin of a Killer (2:58)
• 10. The Lion Fell in Love With the Lamb (3:10)
• 11. Complications (1:11)
• 12. Dinner With His Family (0:38)
• 13. I Would Be the Meal (1:24)
• 14. Bella's Lullaby (2:19)
• 15. Nomads (3:51)
• 16. Stuck Here Like Mom (1:40)
• 17. Bella is Part of the Family (1:24)
• 18. Tracking (2:19)
• 19. In Place of Someone You Love (1:45)
• 20. Showdown in the Ballet Studio (4:50)
• 21. Edward at Her Bed (1:05)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a list of performers and notes about the score and film from the director and composer.

  All artwork and sound clips from Twilight are Copyright © 2008, Atlantic/Warner. The reviews and other textual content contained on the 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 12/26/08 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2008-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.