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Romeo & Juliet
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Composed, Orchestrated, Co-Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Abel Korzeniowski

Co-Conducted by:
Jasper Randall

Co-Produced by:
Mina Korzeniowski
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Relativity Music Group
/Sony Classical
(October 8th, 2013)
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Regular international release, as a download-only album in the United States and on CD internationally.
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Buy it... if you can take your epic romance scores wholesale, the tonality extremely easy to digest, the instrumentation clearly predictable, and the tone unashamedly tragic.

Avoid it... only if you boycott Abel Korzeniowski's music for this film out of respect for James Horner, though the veteran's replacement allowed for a truly inspired and outstanding last-minute effort for a badly flawed production.
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WRITTEN 1/19/14
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Romeo & Juliet: (Abel Korzeniowski) The tragedy contained within William Shakespeare's story of Romeo and Juliet is certainly well-known, especially after a wealth of screen adaptations throughout the 20th Century. Unfortunately, tragedy also struck the 2013 British translation of the story to film, the hideousness of the production almost as painful as anything involving a knife or poison in the plot. Financial disaster was the ultimate fate of Carlo Carlei's Romeo & Juliet, the movie barely achieving wide distribution and struggling to scratch out a million dollars in box office gross after costing $24 million to produce. The primary issues critics and audiences had with the film included a lack of depth to its romantic zeal (in other words, it's boring) and the choice to follow the traditional story in its proper setting but lose the actual Shakespearean dialogue (in other words, it's awkward). The production values being as lushly developed as possible to depict Verona during the Renaissance (within the confines of the budget), a fair amount of money was allocated to the music for the film. While the trailers for Romeo & Juliet included music with a distractingly juvenile influence from modern pop elements, the score proper in the film took a different approach, employing veteran composer James Horner to provide a version of his romance from Titanic for a Late Middle Ages orgy of harmonic bliss. Horner wasted no effort to achieve such an adapted reprise, even bringing Norwegian performer Sissel Kyrkjebø back into the fold. The entire score completed and recorded (and praised widely by those who heard it in sessions), Horner's Romeo & Juliet was scheduled for a full album release to coincide with the picture's debut. Then came trouble in the form of extensive post-production panic, however, and the film was rearranged to such an extent that Horner's music needed to be re-recorded to fit the salvage effort barreling towards its humiliation in theatres. Reportedly, Horner refused to spend any more time on the project (and, really, who would want to?) and his music was dropped. With only weeks to complete a replacement score, rising Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski stepped in to supply essentially the same kind of music for the production.

Korzeniowski, a Warsaw native who has become a darling of the arthouse film community, spent the late 2000's building an impressive resume of solid scores for lesser known films, his best exposure resulting from working with Madonna for W.E. in 2011, a Golden Globe nomination for that score following another nomination for A Single Man several years earlier. Between these efforts and similarly interesting music for the practically unknown Copernicus' Star and Escape From Tomorrow (the latter a brazenly psychedelic topic for the humble and unassuming Korzeniowski), the composer is, in his early 40's, among the most promising talents to emerge in film music since 2000. Without a doubt, 2013 has been a remarkable year for Korzeniowski, the duo of Escape From Tomorrow and Romeo & Juliet serving as outstanding proof of the man's talents across disparate genres. The latter score is easily the more palatable of the two, a straight forward merging of elements from Copernicus' Star and W.E., sometimes distractingly so in the case of the connections to W.E. in particular. Given that the composer had so little time to assemble Romeo & Juliet, you can't really harshly judge him for building its foundation firmly upon W.E., a score that truly begged for greater development of its ideas anyway. At the core of both scores is a sense of classical movement, rhythmic meters sustained by piano and strings in methods not unfamiliar to enthusiasts of Philip Glass' music. The ensemble for Romeo & Juliet is the usual Hollywood Symphony Orchestra (minus full brass and woodwinds), augmented with solos for various string elements, the piano, and soprano voice (Tamara Bevard, a respected Los Angeles performer). An L.A. choir is included for a handful of overlays in the latter half of the score. Aside from the conducting of that smaller group, Korzeniowski handled Romeo & Juliet largely by himself, orchestrating and conducting the score solo. One of the interesting aspects of this recording is its vibrancy; while many of the smaller scores to come out of the Warner Brothers Eastwood Scoring Stage sound constrained, Romeo & Juliet features a dynamic, wet mix that affords nice reverberation without muddying the soloists.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.74 Stars
***** 91 5 Stars
**** 69 4 Stars
*** 43 3 Stars
** 28 2 Stars
* 19 1 Stars
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Help fund an up and coming composer!
Thomas Gaff - September 9, 2014, at 4:32 a.m.
1 comment  (995 views)
This is great! But...   Expand >>
Thomas Allen - January 23, 2014, at 5:33 a.m.
2 comments  (2057 views)
Newest: January 29, 2014, at 1:55 a.m. by
An excellent assessment.
Craig Richard Lysy - January 20, 2014, at 4:40 p.m.
1 comment  (1423 views)
Palavar - January 19, 2014, at 6:06 p.m.
1 comment  (1064 views)
NO!   Expand >>
Markie 224 - January 19, 2014, at 6:04 p.m.
2 comments  (1705 views)
Newest: January 19, 2014, at 6:44 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 50:31
• 1. Juliet's Dream (3:43)
• 2. Forbidden Love (2:59)
• 3. Queen Mab (2:28)
• 4. The Cheek of Night (2:26)
• 5. First Kiss (2:21)
• 6. Trooping With Crows (3:04)
• 7. A Thousand Times Good Night (6:51)
• 8. Come, Gentle Night (2:31)
• 9. Wedding Vows (2:51)
• 10. Fortune's Fool (4:01)
• 11. From Ancient Grudge (1:12)
• 12. Death is My Heir (1:34)
• 13. Tempt Not a Desperate Man (3:08)
• 14. The Crypt (Part 1) (5:09)
• 15. The Crypt (Part 2) (4:18)
• 16. Eternal Love (2:05)

Notes Icon
The insert includes a short note from the composer about the story and score.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the 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 Romeo & Juliet are Copyright © 2013, Relativity Music Group/Sony Classical and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/19/14 (and not updated significantly since).
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