Home > Reviews > THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY – George Fenton


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The winner of the Palme D’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, The Wind that Shakes the Barley is a film from left-wing director Ken Loach, about the Republican movement in early 20th century Ireland, prior to the separation of the country under British and Irish rule, which eventually led to the long-lasting bloody conflict known as ‘The Troubles’ between Catholics and Protestants. Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney star as brothers Damien and Teddy, whose lives are torn apart by the increasing sectarian violence, and the political struggles which taint their formerly peaceful lives.

George Fenton has been Ken Loach’s composer through almost a dozen films now, from Land and Freedom and My Name is Joe, to Carla’s Song and The Navigators. Usually, their collaborations have been low-key, with Fenton’s music playing a much smaller role than it does in other films. The Wind that Shakes the Barley is more of the same – a small, intimate orchestral score, albeit one with much more tension and a little more action than one would expect of a Ken Loach film.

The main theme has an Irish lilt, as one might expect, and there is heavy emphasis on extended string chords and soft, muted woodwinds. The action music – cues like “Gogan Releases Lads” and “Ambush” – is led by percussion and piano, and is more about an enhanced rhythmic presence than anything else; this is tempered by some mournfully beautiful passages in “Chris Arrested”, which seem to echo the tragedy befalling the entire country at that time. The score for The Wind that Shakes the Barley was never released commercially, but Fenton did release a promo CD on his own record label, Debonair, in late 2007.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Lads Walk to Farm (1:23)
  • Michael’s Death (1:22)
  • Damien Arrives (1:38)
  • Training (1:13)
  • Steady Boy’s Fag Box (1:09)
  • Attack on the Barracks (1:26)
  • British Attack Street (1:13)
  • Dawn Raid (2:01)
  • He’s My Brother (1:03)
  • Damien in Cell With Dan (1:25)
  • Gogan Releases Lads (2:20)
  • Chris Arrested (2:25)
  • Chris Executed (0:58)
  • Damien and Sinead in the Wood (2:08)
  • Ambush (4:53)
  • Sinead and Damien Kiss (1:23)
  • Training – Sick Child (1:47)
  • Attack on Free Staters (2:42)
  • Damien Walks Away From Teddy (1:07)
  • Dan is Shot (1:26)
  • Damien Writes to Sinead (1:19)
  • Teddy Gives Order To Fire (0:59)
  • Teddy Goes To Sinead (2:21)
  • The Wind That Shakes The Barley Closing Titles (3:18)

Running Time: 74 minutes 54 seconds

Debonair Records Promo (2007)

  1. Tom H
    October 9, 2011 at 10:03 am

    does anyone know where I can get this promo cd. I think it’s gorgeous

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