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The Wind Gods (Pinar Toprak)

November 25, 2015

Cover_TheWindGodsTHE WIND GODS

Pinar Toprak, 2015, Caldera Records
19 tracks, 50:56

Pinar Toprak’s lush score for the 2013 documentary “The Wind Gods” finally gets a release. This is one boat you’re not gonna want to miss!

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

“The Wind Gods” is a documentary that chronicles the 10 year quest of famous entrepreneur Larry Ellison who set sail with his ‘Oracle’ to win the America’s Cup and therefore bring the prestigious sailing prize home to the US after it had been won by foreigners in the past years. The documentary which is both an adventure, an insight into the mindset of the well-known billionaire and a love letter to sailing, is narrated by Jeremy Irons and features an original score by Turkish-born composer Pinar Toprak. The score was recorded with a 70+ orchestra; and has now been released by Caldera Records.

What does it sound like?

The album opens with “The Wind Gods”, which starts off quite calmly but gradually builds into a gentle, but heroic fanfare for the sailors. Toprak ups the ante with “First Race 1851”, which features racing strings and a powerful performance by the brass section, especially in the mid section when horns deliver a forceful action theme.

The action continues in the brief “Ellison vs Bertarelli”, but makes way for a lovely, Thomas Newman-esque, cue for strings and woodwinds – “The Best Man to Steer the Boat”. The next few tracks continue in this vain. Strings, woodwinds, fluttering piano… Toprak paints a pretty picture in soft ‘Americana’ colours. Toprak delves even deeper into the ‘Americana’ style by adding light percussion and strumming guitars to “The Americas Cup Is America’s Again”. It may not seem entirely fair to compare the music to another composer’s work, yet I can’t help but think… if you’re missing the ‘old’ Thomas Newman who wrote beautifully harmonic pieces for strings and winds, you might want to give “The Wind Gods” a listen.

“The Trophy” and “Dreams are to Pursue” are two brief, noble cues where the soaring main theme gets another chance to shine. A noble brass performance is accompanied by exciting string ostinati. After a very subdued, and atmospheric, “One Australia” we arrive at the album’s obvious highlight – a lengthy track that is simply called “The 12 Minute Cue”. Over the course of those twelve minutes (and seventeen seconds) Toprak takes us on a musical journey that offers noble performances of the main theme as well as moments of tension and despair. The album closes beautifully, if a little subdued, with “A Noble Defeat” and “Dreams are to Pursue 2”.

As a bonus track, there is a three-minute audio commentary from the composer herself.

Is it any good?

Pinar Toprak’s “The Wind Gods” is a beautifully lush orchestral score, full of excitement and admiration for the sailors. And though the journey ends on a somber note, there are plenty of exciting action cues and noble themes along the way. In the audio commentary, Toprak talks of her love for the ocean, how inspiring the images are, and how majestic the boats are. She successfully translates those feelings into her music. Without ever going over the top, her score is heroic, passionate and exciting. It is, indeed, timeless.

Rating [4.5/5]

Tracklisting

1. The Wind Gods (2:50)
2. First Race 1851 (5:52)
3. Ellison vs. Bertarelli (1:06)
4. The Best Man To Steer The Boat (2:04)
5. Childhood (1:52)
6. We Are The American Team (1:02)
7. There Is No Second Place (1:39)
8. Jimmy And His Father (1:04)
9. The Final Race (3:30)
10. It Was Personal (2:07)
11. The America’s Cup is America’s Again (2:17)
12. What’s At Stake (1:05)
13. The Trophy (1:33)
14. Dreams Are To Pursue (1:15)
15. One Australia (1:26)
16. The 12 Minute Cue (12:18)
17. A Noble Defeat (1:26)
18. Dreams Are To Pursue II (2:40)
19. Audio Commentary by Pinar Toprak (2:54)

Availability

For more information visit Caldera‘s website.

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