Home > Reviews > IL SOLE NERO – Wojciech Kilar

IL SOLE NERO – Wojciech Kilar

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As much as I love Wojciech Kilar’s film scores, he does have a tendency to stick to writing music that is well within his comfort zone; such is the case with his score for Il Sole Nero, a revenge drama directed by Krzysztof Zanussi and starring Valeria Golino as Agata, a young widow who, after the learning the identity of her husband’s killer, struggles with whether to forgive the killer or avenge her husband’s death.

Kilar and Zanussi have worked together on 45 different films over the years, so the two know each other well, and Zanussi clearly knows what he wants his composer to provide in terms of music; a modest, introspective meditation on whatever meaningful facet of life is being explored at any given time. Il Sole Nero is just that. This extremely short release by the Italian label CAM Original Soundtracks – it only runs for just over 13 minutes – provides the main themes from Kilar’s score, plus a couple of variations.

Kilar’s music is always precisely structured and intricately orchestrated, but on this occasion it sounds very much like a ‘greatest hits’ compilation of solemn, string-and-piano led themes from a dozen earlier scores for Polish films, many of which were also directed by Zanussi. The main theme, “The Black Sun”, is a deliciously dark piano rhapsody very much in the vein of his score for The Portrait of Lady, backed by a bed of dense, tragedy-laden strings and a morose, almost funereal tempo.

“Agata’s Theme” is a softer, slightly gentler variation on the main Black Sun theme, while “Salvo’s Theme” has an unsettling, see-sawing effect in the piano writing which is quite hypnotic. The whole score has a brooding, pseudo-classical aspect that fans of Kilar’s music will appreciate; however, your tolerance of it will depend on with how much of his previous work you are familiar (as it is VERY derivative of other works), and how much doom and gloom you can take in your orchestral writing.

Rating: **½

Track Listing:

  • The Black Sun (2:35)
  • The Black Sun – Version 1 (1:49)
  • Manfredi’s Death (2:00)
  • The Funeral (1:43)
  • Agata’s Theme (1:53)
  • Salvo’s Theme (1:10)
  • The Fall (1:10)
  • Agata’s Theme – Version 1 (0:58)

Running Time: 13 minutes 18 seconds

CAM Original Soundtracks CAM 515404-2 (2007)

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  1. September 24, 2017 at 9:01 am

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