for Cinetalk.net

Like a companion piece to the upcoming world premiere of the Live Dracula Concert at the 12th FMF in Krakow next May (See: https://cinetalk.net/2019/03/06/fmf-2019-new-fest-edition-same-feast/), La-la Land Records released a few weeks ago a much awaited 3 CD expanded edition of Wojciech Kilar’s landmark score to Francis Ford coppola’s 1992 film of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

As a lot of Kilar’s material was interfered with or excised, during post production, the original program of the 1992 Columbia album, made at the time of the original release of the film, contained about 55 minutes of music. This new edition adds all cues as intended chronologically  by Kilar as well as several bonuses (including the original cut of the album) making it a more than three hours listening pleasure.

Since Coppola wanted to entrust the scoring assignment to a composer of Eastern European background, Kilar (mostly an unknown as a score composer in the US at the time) seemed to perfectly fit the task. Notwithstanding the fact that his already prolific career in his homeland, Poland, spawned a great variety of genres – Comedic fanfare type in Rejs, orchestral lounge in Człowiek z M-3 (1968), more traditional underscoring of action in Hubal (1973), his epic and dramatic output, heard for instance in his works for  Wajda and Zanussi, already constituted the main corpus of his work for films.

Most of Kilar’s trademarks are on display in this masterwork. Near oppressive lower bass string and brass register, percussive pounding, repeated motives added as thundering layers with supportive crescendo. Back also, the high keys piano strikes, reminiscence of his factory music for Wajda’s Ziemia obiecana (Promised Land ) as well as an indication of his (buried) past as one of Poland’s top Avant-garde composer (during the 1960’s) along Gorecki and Penderecki (who also basically buried this part of his career). The romantic, the sacred, the mysticism are also very present with chilling lyrical choral work, religious chants and other various incantations with great flair for short melodies coming in and fading out suddenly.

Wojciech Kilar’s Dracula is one the greatest horror score by a master of film music and this new 3 CD presentation of his entirety is simply a must.

See also : KILAR’S Ninth Gate OST