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ECHOES OF INNOCENCE – Brad Sayles

September 9, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

echoesofinnocenceOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Echoes of Innocence, which won awards at film festivals in Colorado Springs and Houston and was released on DVD in September 2005, is an interesting film about a regular high school girl who, unexpectedly, begins to hear voices and see visions like a modern day Joan of Arc. Starring Sara Simmonds and Jake McDormand, and written, produced and directed by debutante N. Todd Sims, the film also marks the film music debut of Texan composer Brad Sayles.

It’s interesting to note that Sayles is as much a sound designer as he is a composer – he worked on Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys in that capacity – and several times during the course of the score he uses his talents for electronic and synthetic design (listen for the seagulls in “Sarah’s Second Vision”!) While some cues do make use of acoustic instruments, quite a lot of the score is sampled (primarily for budgetary reasons), but despite the sonic limitations imposed by the electronics, the writing is still commendable. One can imagine cues such as “Visiting Violet” and the action-packed “Into the Woods/The Rescue” sounding pretty good if they were to be performed by a live orchestra.

In several cues – notably the “Main Title”, the violent-sounding “Sarah’s First Vision”, “Who’s Alec Stainer” Sayles makes great use of the sparkling vocal talents of The Houston Boy Choir, who were recorded live and overdubbed on top of his music, and who have a sound similar to the Boy’s Choir of Harlem , who James Horner used to spectacularly on Glory back in 1989. There’s also a live piano which works its way into cues such as “Remembering Christopher”, “Promise”, the upbeat “The Interview”, and the lengthy “Recommitment/Sarah’s Second Vision” (which also features an attractive oboe solo), and the pleasant finale “Christopher Returns/The Wedding” (which features an interesting live string quartet element).

Ultimately, though, Echoes of Innocence does not quite live up to its hype, and it has the rather unfortunate luck to be performed by some rather poor-sounding synthesisers, which limit severely restrict its scope. Nevertheless, it’s enjoyable to discover a new composer like Sayles, and it will be interesting to see where his career goes from here.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Main Title (2:42)
  • Sarah’s Speech (1:15)
  • Remembering Christopher (4:22)
  • Visiting Violet (1:41)
  • Sarah’s First Vision (1:48)
  • Who’s Alec Stainer (1:06)
  • Done With You/Premonition (1:58)
  • Childhood Memories (1:02)
  • Promise (2:26)
  • Christopher’s Departure (1:26)
  • Katy’s Confession (1:31)
  • The Interview (2:56)
  • Joan of Arc (0:57)
  • I Hear Things (1:30)
  • What Is the Glory of Kings? (1:26)
  • The Chapel (1:17)
  • Letters (1:02)
  • Outside Violet’s (1:00)
  • Recommitment/Sarah’s Second Vision (6:25)
  • Why Did I Love Him? (3:45)
  • Midsummer Night’s Play (1:36)
  • Into the Woods/The Rescue (7:36)
  • Christopher Returns/The Wedding (5:18)

Running Time: 56 minutes 16 seconds

MovieScore Media MMS06003 (2005)

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