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CD: Chloe (2009)
Review Rating:   Excellent  
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March 22, 2010

Tracks / Album Length:

19 tracks / (42:45)


Composer: Mychael Danna

Special Notes:


Comments :    

A remake of Anne Fontaine’s Parisian-centered Nathalie (2003), Atom Egoyan’s film (reset in Toronto) is a more dramatic and provocative version with Hitchcockian overtones, so it makes sense that Michael Danna’s score is more overtly suspenseful than the semi-tragic orchestral score Michael Nyman composed for the 2003 film, which had an even balance of score and source music.

Like Nathalie, Danna makes use of piano, but the score’s dreamy quality is the carrier Danna uses to introduce vulnerable theme fragments (“You Look Just Like Her”), and blend ethnic and contemporary instruments. The film’s main theme has two main components: four intro notes on a fuzzy, electric guitar punctuated by analogue bass, and a melodic part that’s quite lurid on woodwinds, but semi-tragic when solo piano takes control. Danna’s use of blurry electronic vibes and flute (“I Felt Him”) are also quite hypnotic, and sometimes function as bridge material as the album flows from elegance to erotic mystery, and concludes with a sharp dramatic theme interpretations.

Danna’s score is largely orchestral, and in between the oft-repeated theme statements are a handful of brooding suspense cuts, culminating in the lengthy “Your Parents Room,” with rumbling bass and tense strings. Fragments of the main theme are twisted into chilling versions with sharp brass, and brief segments of ethereal dreaminess are blended with woodwinds and subtle electronic tones.

There’s a slight Barryesque quality to Chloe, and the score’s strength lies in Danna’s skill in shifting moods with incredible gentleness. Even “Windsor Arms” wiggles from ominous bass and percussion hits to jazz piano figures, all as heavy bass tones undulate, strained notes on strings rise like breathy sounds drift forward without a stitch seam in sight.

The recording’s engineering is first-rate, and while fairly brief at 42 mins., it’s musically embracive of the story’s emotional, dramatic, and location peaks and valleys.


© 2010 Mark R. Hasan

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