Home > Reviews > UNSERE MÜTTER, UNSERE VÄTER – Fabian Römer


unseremutterunserevaterOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter is an ambitious 3-part German mini-series broadcast on the ZDF network in March 2013. The story follows five friends in their 20s, each on different paths through Nazi Germany and World War II: two are Wehrmacht soldiers on the Eastern Front, one is a nurse, one is an aspiring singer, and one is a Jewish tailor. The narrative spans five years in Berlin in the 1940s, beginning when the friends meet up for a last time before embarking on their journeys, enthusiastically vowing to meet up again the following Christmas. The series stars Volker Bruch, Tom Schilling, Katharina Schüttler, Miriam Stein and Ludwig Trepte, was directed by Philipp Kadelbach, and has an original score by composer Fabian Römer.

“Alle Ehre” starts the score off simply, with a gentle melody for strings and piano, and has a lightness-of-heart in the upbeat and optimistic “Fünf Freunde”, before things start getting more dramatic, and the onset of war and the specter of right-wing nationalism begins to raise its ugly head. The more martial and dramatic “Recap Teil 1” has a more strident percussion undercurrent, more insistent string writing, and a generally darker tone. The jarringly aggressive “Keine Hoffnung” makes wonderful use of a rattling bass flute, while “Angriff” underpins a searching string theme with a bold and dominant drumbeat.

The unique, highly dissonant “Sturm” and the subsequent “Wansinn” introduce bleak wind effects, ethnic woodwinds and layered, haunting vocals to excellent effect, creating an atmosphere of unease and confusion. The vocals return in the mysterious “Friedhelms Tod?”; haunting string and woodwind themes make “Abscheid” a more lyrical, if downbeat, interlude; and “Krieg Ist Warten” revisits the gentle melody for strings and piano first heard in the opening cue, expanding it for the full orchestra, although here it has a more reflective and resigned tone. The conclusion of the score comprises another striking action cue, “Hinterhalt”, and final renditions of the main theme and the ‘five friends’ theme in “Drei Gläser” which are quite beautiful.

Perhaps the one thing holding Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter back is a slight sense of anonymity – the score is technically accomplished and dramatically appropriate, but you get the sense that pretty much anyone could have written it, and other than the disturbing “Sturm” cue and the really lovely finale, there is little to distinguish Fabian Römer from the myriad of other composers writing competent TV music these days.

Buy the Unsere Mütter Unsere Väter soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Alle Ehre (2:07)
  • Fünf Freunde (1:41)
  • Das Foto (3:04)
  • Mein Kleines Herz (performed by Katharina Schüttler) (2:00)
  • Recap Teil 1 (3:58)
  • Vergiftetes Angebot (2:04)
  • Keine Hoffnung (2:01)
  • Sommersemester (1:09)
  • Angriff (1:43)
  • Sturm (3:21)
  • Fern (0:47)
  • Wahnsinn (3:17)
  • Flucht (1:32)
  • Friedhelms Tod? (3:39)
  • Abschied (4:25)
  • Partisanen (6:07)
  • Krieg Ist Warten (6:19)
  • Recap Teil 1 Und 2 (2:04)
  • Anzünden! (2:15)
  • Hinterhalt (2:14)
  • Stille Bar (2:22)
  • Drei Gläser (6:15)

Running Time: 64 minutes 24 seconds

Colosseum CST-8164-2  (2013)

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