Home > Reviews > OORLOGSWINTER – Pino Donaggio


November 28, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Dutch cinema doesn’t get much press beyond the confines of its borders. Similarly, Dutch film music gets fairly short shrift from the world at large, despite several acclaimed composers having worked there in recent years, notably Henny Vrienten, Loek Dikker and Fons Merkies. It’s also been quite some time since Italian composer Pino Donaggio had any time in the spotlight – at least since Up At the Villa in 2000, and in reality probably since Never Talk to Strangers in before that in 1995. So, it’s quite gratifying to see Donaggio’s score for the Dutch wartime drama Oorlogswinter (‘Winter in Wartime’) getting some attention.

The film is directed by Martin Koolhoven from the novel by Jan Terlouw, and stars Martijn Lakemeier as Michiel, a 14 year old boy living in a small town in the Netherlands in the winter of 1944, who witnesses an English fighter plane crash near his home. Despite the reservations of his father (Raymond Thiry), who is on good terms with the occupying German forces, Michiel seeks out and eventually finds the pilot (Jamie Campbell Bower), who is alive and in hiding, and vows to help the pilot return home.

Donaggio’s music is lush and emotional throughout, with several beautiful themes and an appropriately ‘wintry’ feeling. Despite being a war film, there is virtually no music which depicts the war itself – everything feeds from the emotions and point of view of Michiel, and as such the music is imbued with an innocence and clarity untainted by the horrors of the conflict. The opening cue, “Oorlogswinter”, makes wonderful use of a lilting solo piano theme and the wordless vocals of boy soprano Boris Dobromirov Dobrev, the melodic line of which appears in later cues such as “Innocenza”, the dreamily fragile “Door Het Ijs Gezakt”, the gentle “Met Papa”, the wonderfully cathartic “Verlies”, and the all-encompassing “Aftiteling” end titles cue.

There’s a gorgeous, emotive solo violin in “Wat Doen Ze Bij De Buren?”, a slightly more shrill and perilous texture to “De Dood Van Bertus”, and even more lurking danger in the darker, occasionally quite harsh pairing of “De Eerste Poging” and “De Nieuwe Poging”, although the unexpectedly beautiful “De Executie” is slightly less ominous that the title might otherwise suggest, especially when the choir kicks in.

What’s most appealing about Oorlogswinter, though, is its general consistency of tone, and the way the emotions are presented in an unambiguous, easily understood manner. It also helps that some of Donaggio’s textures, and the themes themselves, are effortlessly attractive, making the whole score a joy to experience. The score is available from the Dutch website www.bol.com, and I heartily recommend you give it a whirl.

Rating: ****

Track Listing:

  • Oorlogswinter (1:18)
  • Innocenza (2:30)
  • Oom Ben (1:39)
  • Wat Doen Ze Bij De Buren? (2:19)
  • De Dood Van Bertus (1:45)
  • De Eerste Poging (4:09)
  • Door Het Ijs Gezakt (1:11)
  • Met Papa (1:20)
  • Arrestatie (4:40)
  • Oom Ben Naar Het Gemeentehuis (0:49)
  • De Executie (3:40)
  • Verdrongen (1:32)
  • De Nieuwe Poging (5:10)
  • Verborgen Verdriet (1:26)
  • Overname (1:31)
  • De Ontdekking (2:47)
  • De IJsselbrug (4:14)
  • Verlies (2:18)
  • Veranderd (2:03)
  • Aftiteling (4:31)

Running Time: 51 minutes 02 seconds

Fu Works 8713053600081 (2008)

  1. Boris
    October 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Hi i am the soprano , now baritone Boris Dobromirov Dobrev. I like the melodies and the film very much!!!!Congratulations!!!!!

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