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Monday, November 24, 2008

Flash of Genius Soundtrack Review

Written By E. Corrado

This is the review for the Flash of Genius soundtrack. The music was composed by Aaron Zigman. The soundtrack was released November 4th, 2008. The soundtrack for Flash of Genius is 43 minutes, and 25 seconds long.

The quiet themes in the Flash of Genius score capture the mood of the movie perfectly. With the right amount of tension, Aaron Zigman creates a score of music for the life of a man who’s rights as an inventor have been denied. With this soundtrack, the feel that it created was sometimes light, often appropriately intense, yet also calming at times. It actually makes a soundtrack of nice background music, especially since the dynamics are fairly even throughout when compared to other soundtracks. The arrangement of the instruments as each takes the main theme in time is amazing in the sense that the same theme takes on a life and personality of it’s own. The string section works perfectly creating the often veiled feel of the theme, as does the inclusion of the piano and flute. It is as though we are hearing a theme that has been around for a long time, yet still does not want to be fully revealed.

While the music on the CD is not in the exact order that it was in the movie, (unlike how some soundtracks are arranged), it was put together really nicely, keeping the flow from one track to the next without repeating itself by putting similar tracks beside each other. Indeed, unlike the bonus track Vis Vitae, which runs 10 minutes, many of the tracks on here are short ones, with 8 being under a minute each. But all of them deserve to be here, and while short, they are long enough to get across their meaning to you. (As a matter of fact, a good example of shorter tracks is on the WALL•E soundtrack by Thomas Newman, as these were also short themes just as important as the longer ones.) As for the tracks on Flash of Genius that are longer, they have a nice sense of development that is well executed, and edited. And of course, like all movie soundtracks, they are edited down for length from what you’ve heard in the movie. It is nice when the choice of music to feature on the CD is chosen in such a way that it tells the story in itself. And that is the case here. Flash of Genius is a well put together soundtrack that is a great complement to the movie, but stands well on it’s own as well.

Bonus Track: Vis Vitae

The bonus track here, Vis Vitae, is a wonderful chamber work. It to me is a testament to what this movie is, and tells the story on it’s own. This piece is almost 10 minutes in length, the longest on the disc. It begins with a disjointed version of the theme that runs throughout the movie. By 1 minute in, the music’s changed and has the feeling of water droplets running down a windshield, (this is with the theme still playing, although now mixed with this.) As the piece progresses to the 2 minute mark, it changes once again with the strings both carrying the theme and running against it. Then, the theme breaks up around 2:30 minutes in, only be picked up with the soft piano accent from The Warehouse track around the 3 minute mark. I love the variations of the theme here as it progresses, coming to a complete pause by 4:30 minutes. Still, the strings are not quite sure where they are going, yet they seem to have a purpose doing it, just like Robert Kearn’s struggle in the movie. Just after 5:30 minutes the quiet piano is back, which blends into the quiet, yet unsure string theme. The original theme heard several times on the soundtrack comes back around 7:45 minutes in, or about 2 minutes from the end. As this theme appears to be bringing the piece to a gentle moving closure, the disjointed strings from the beginning make a final appearance 1 minute from the end, and close the piece on that point instead. From the combination of parts of The Warehouse theme, and the theme from Mustangs, this is an interesting, and wonderful piece of music, that stands well on it’s own like the rest of the soundtrack, but tells the story of the movie so nicely.

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