Home > Reviews > FLIGHT OF THE STORKS – Éric Neveux


January 21, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

flightofthestorksOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Flight of the Storks (Le Vol des Cigognes) is a French TV mini series starring Harry Treadaway as Jonathan, a young English academic ornithologist who teams up with a colleague to follow storks on their migration from Switzerland to Africa. However, when his colleague is found dead in mysterious circumstances, Jonathan finds himself caught up in an international web of intrigue, travelling through Bulgaria, Turkey, the Middle East, and the Congo along the pathway of the migrating storks, with a dogged Swiss detective hot on his heels. This mini-series was directed by Jan Kounen adapted from the novel by Jean-Christophe Grangé, co-starred Rutger Hauer and Perdita Weeks, and was scored by French composer Éric Neveux.

Neveux’s music unfolds in travelogue fashion, following Jonathan throughout his epic journey, and bringing in the regional sound of his destination into the score as he reaches the different cities. The opening “Journey to Sofia” is lovely, bringing into plucked guitar and lute-like instruments into his long-lined string-based main theme. “De Sofia à Haïfa” brings more Middle Eastern inflections to the music, trading introducing a set of lovely lilting guitars which carry the melody throughout the piece. “Welcome to Antwerp” has the feel of contemporary Europe, with fun electronic pulses underneath a more classical string wash, while “Streets of Kinshasa” have a prominent ethnic beat with all manner of shakers and metallic percussion items underpinning a slow, meandering string melody, twisting and turning like the Congo river itself.

This is counterbalanced by more contemporary thriller music for the action and suspense parts of the story, as Jonathan finds out more about his supposed friend’s murky hidden past, and the reason for his death. Cues like “Locked Up”, “The Hatch” and “White Flat Trap” are scored with modern synth rhythms and dance-like beats to give them an urban edge, while cues like “Looking for Max”, “Hallucinations”, “The Village” and the vicious “Death Flight” are much more sinister, using long string sustains, low end piano chords, dirty-sounding synth effects, and periods of vivid dissonance to convey a sense of tension and dread. “Hallucinations” is especially unsettling as a result of its interpolation of tribal drums and angry vocals. Only in the conclusive “Not Friends Anymore” does Neveux bring any real sense of traditional scoring techniques with a tender, but downcast, string melody, which then carries through into parts of the excellent extended finale, the six-minute title track “Flight of the Storks”, which is by far the best cue on the album.

This isn’t a score which will appeal to the majority of listeners – it’s a little too ambient and urban for me in places, and eschews thematic integrity in favor of more set-piece based vignettes of sound and instrumental textures – but it does contain a couple of really excellent pieces, and continues to showcase Éric Neveux’s development and growth as a composer to keep an eye on.

Buy the Flight of the Storks soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Journey to Sofia (1:12)
  • Looking for Max (2:23)
  • De Sofia à Haïfa (1:49)
  • Locked Up (2:24)
  • My Family (1:39)
  • The Hatch (2:18)
  • A Brief Moment of Happiness (3:30)
  • African Roots (1:37)
  • Hallucinations (2:18)
  • Diamonds (2:10)
  • Welcome to Antwerp (2:42)
  • Remember! (3:08)
  • White Flat Trap (1:54)
  • Awakening (2:20)
  • Streets of Kinshasa (1:22)
  • The Village (2:49)
  • Governor’s House (3:24)
  • Mr. Dumaz (1:37)
  • Death Flight (2:39)
  • Not Friends Anymore (1:07)
  • Brother (1:39)
  • The Flight of the Storks (6:16).

Running Time: 52 minutes 17 seconds

MovieScore Media MMD0024 (2013)

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