Adam Resurrected (Gabriel Yared)
Gabriel Yared, 2016, Caldera Records
20 tracks, 43:05
Caldera have ‘resurrected’ a 2008 score by Gabriel Yared. Adam Resurrected is a dramatic work for synths and solo violin.
Review by Pete Simons
What is it?
Directed by Paul Schrader and released in 2008, Adam Resurrected tells the story of a former circus entertainer (Jeff Goldblum) who was spared from the gas chamber during WWII and becomes the ringleader at an asylum for Holocaust survivors. Willem Dafoe and Derek Jacobi also star; whilst Oscar-winning composer Gabriel Yared (The English Patient) provides the score.
What does it sound like? And is it any good?
Gabriel Yared made a deliberate decision to perform most of the score electronically. A solo violin and a piano aside, everything is sampled. In the liner notes Yared explains: “I absolutely did not want to write music which could be typically lyrical, sad or emotional. […] Aside from the big main theme of the film for piano, violin and strings, I found that in general the score had to be as subtle as possible, so I mostly included just synthesised textures and ambience. I did not want to take away or distract the viewer from what was happening on screen.” For the most part, when Yared combines ambient synth pads with solo violin, this approach works fine for me; as it all sounds organic. Where it does jar a little bit is when sampled woodwinds, like oboe, are brought in. This is were the sound feels fake, because… it is. And it’s during those moments that I can’t agree with Yared’s reasoning, as I personally find a fake oboe far more distracting than a real one.
But I must stress that those occasions are rare. As said, for the most part the synths do what synths do best: add an ambience and a type of sound that could not easily be created in any other way. Yet the overall feel is still organic; and the (real) solo violin sounds all the more poignant when placed over the often brooding soundscapes. And the piano too… the sharpness and clarity of the piano adds a welcome contrast to the overall sound.
For me, and I suspect for most listeners, the stand-out cue is the “Main Theme”. A lyrical yet melancholy theme for solo violin soars over a bed of warm synth pads. It’s unmistakeably Yared. In fact, there are tiny little moments that remind me of The English Patient. Even Schindler’s List comes to mind, but only because you’ve got this solo violin and you’ve got this Jewish tone scale. There are a few other elements that are repeated throughout the score. There is a three-note piano motif (sometimes taken over by the oboe) as well as a sort-of ticking woodblock that return quite frequently.
I have a tricky relationship with Yared’s music. On the one hand I’m not a big fan of his writing style and orchestrations, yet on the other I often find his music fascinating. The man clearly follows his own instinct and has a truly unique musical voice, and I admire that greatly. It’s because of Yared’s unique voice that you can never be too sure where the music will take you. And with Adam Resurrected… well, there are elements I don’t agree with, yet I find myself intrigued (and indeed: immersed) by Yared’s sound palette.
01. Main Theme (6:57)
02. Tel Aviv (1:03)
03. Gina (1:46)
04. Adam Gets Bit (1:50)
05. Laughter (2:04)
06. Life and Death (3:08)
07. Adam and Gina on the Rooftop (2:06)
08. Desert (1:23)
09. Wolfie’s Story (1:38)
10. Shooting Rex (2:12)
11. Berlin 1950s (0:55)
12. Stand Up Dog (2:59)
13. Adam and Gina in Bed (2:11)
14. Boy Tries to Stand Up (0:50)
15. At the Graveside (2:48)
16. Adam Hallucinates (3:52)
17. Adam and Davey (1:08)
18. Epilogue (1:29)
19. Haifa Arrival (1:07)
20. Adam’s Idea (2:13)
Review (C) 2017 Synchrotones