Australian pop musician and producer turned film composer David Hirschfelder garnered an Academy Award nomination for the impressive pop and classical musical alchemy he conjured up for Shine. For Elizabeth (director Shekh... more »ar Kapur's nouveau-feminist take on the political and religious barrier-breaking rise of Queen Elizabeth I), Hirschfelder has again imbued familiar period-music clichés with just enough pop rhythmic and melodic flourishes to create a score that's fresh yet deceptively familiar. To his credit, Hirschfelder wears his influences proudly, interpolating Mozart, Elgar, Byrd, and Susato into his own, modern, sensibilities with seamless aplomb (only Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War" seems trotted out just once too often). The composer (who also orchestrated) walks a fine musical line on Elizabeth, ultimately creating a musical fusion of the best kind. --Jerry McCulley« less
Australian pop musician and producer turned film composer David Hirschfelder garnered an Academy Award nomination for the impressive pop and classical musical alchemy he conjured up for Shine. For Elizabeth (director Shekhar Kapur's nouveau-feminist take on the political and religious barrier-breaking rise of Queen Elizabeth I), Hirschfelder has again imbued familiar period-music clichés with just enough pop rhythmic and melodic flourishes to create a score that's fresh yet deceptively familiar. To his credit, Hirschfelder wears his influences proudly, interpolating Mozart, Elgar, Byrd, and Susato into his own, modern, sensibilities with seamless aplomb (only Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War" seems trotted out just once too often). The composer (who also orchestrated) walks a fine musical line on Elizabeth, ultimately creating a musical fusion of the best kind. --Jerry McCulley
Michael J. Mazza | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 10/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most stunning historical dramas ever filmed is "Elizabeth," directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Cate Blanchett as England's Queen Elizabeth I. A crucial element of the film's overall effect is David Hirschfelder's superb musical score. The CD of "Elizabeth" is one of those great scores which succeeds as compelling music on its own, apart from the film."Elizabeth" starts off strong with the amazing "Elizabeth: Overture." This composition features an eery blend of male and female choirs. The ominous overture builds to a strikingly frenzied crescendo.The rest of the music is equally masterful, and features a good blend of choir and orchestra on certain tracks. The music captures the many moods and flavors of Elizabeth's world: martial, majestic, frightening, elegant, haunting, joyful. I especially liked the tender love theme.The music of "Elizabeth" successfully evokes both the violence and beauty of this memorable film. I highly recommend this CD, especially to fans of outstanding film scores."
A masquerade of haunting themes
Michael J. Mazza | 10/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To borrow a phrase from the Phantom of the Opera, I would describe the score to Elizabeth as being one that is "hard as lightning, soft as candle light". My salutations to David Hirschfelder for this unique invention of themes ranging from the dark, spine-tingling themes to the light and lush sounds of the "coronation banquet" and the "love theme". His use of other classical materials gives this score added textures and layers. What you get in the end is a full hour of themes that will be swimming in your head for days after. For example, the 6-minute-long "coronation banquet" sets the scene for festivity and pagaentry in a time so long ago. It rivals the dance sequence from Shakespeare in Love with its strong and percussive beats... you could use it in a modern discotheque and everyone, "let's do the volta!" The darker themes are just right without being too dark. And of course, the love theme - all I can say is that it is a gem. With a slight tinge of darkness, the love theme somewhat describes a love that was never meant to be. There is much yearning and sadness and danger, and I think that makes it a unique love theme. Not your average lovey-dovey or conventional soundtrack, I believe the score to Elizabeth will set new standards in film scoring. It dares to be different and cruel if the occassion calls for it. By daring to be different and above conventionality (if there is such a word!), Elizabeth is one-of-a-kind. Highly unexpected. It strikes with its warmth, intrigue and cold un-sympathetic charms. Call it cruelty, call it love, call it intrigue. The sound quality is good, resonant and warm. One of the best scores of 1998-1999. Highly recommended for music fans looking for a mix of intrigue and love - the score to Elizabeth will not disappoint."
Shana L. Snyder | New Brunswick, NJ USA | 03/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elizabeth's soundtrack deftly captures the brooding darkness and the painful passion of the film through its various themes. Included are sources not originally written by Hirschfelder, such as an amazing Mozart Requiem Aeturnum (K. 626, d minor) that sounds as if it were recorded in an echo chamber by a fiery nymph. Some of the music is period appropriate, however, and traditional dances from the 16th century make their appearance. Elizabeth combines sweeping love themes, rhythmic terror, vocal madness, and musical homage into a wonderful soundtrack recording that reflects the beauty of the superb film in which it appears. Why Shakespeare in Love won the Oscar for best original score is something which I cannot fathom. Compared to Elizabeth it is musically dull and repetitive."
An admirable work of art
Shaun Williams | Albuquerque, NM United States | 05/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This soundtrack includes two works by famous composers(Mozart and Byrd) but the score is a seamless blend. Listening to the wonder that is the very first track, I could hardly believe it was the product of a movie composer. It seemed too good to be true. It had a classical era feel to it, but was full of engaging elements of dissonance that reflected an intriguing influence of modern sensibilities.
All the music sounded as though it could have been composed in the 17th century and it was so excellently moody. How well it emphasized those dark, draughty hallways with only sputtering, smoky torches to light them! How dark and sinister was the royal court as everyone conspired against each other in the shadows. And then for occasions of levity were excellent dances. I couldn't help but think it appropriate as a sad voice spirals up and up as Lord Robert Dudley sits with tears running down his face. This is easily one of the best soundtracks I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. Not only is it perfect for the movie, but it is by itself an admirable work of art."
Elizabeth - a tour de force
anthemic | Australia | 06/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Without a doubt, David Hirschfelder is a name that will become increasingly popular in the soundtrack industry in the coming years. 'Elizabeth' will arrest and captivate the listener from beginning to end - with a tour de force of energy.While this happens it will displace your timespace and time-warp you into a 16th century castle court. It will arouse your passion, anticipate your fear, and tingle your spine with joy and anxiety. Despite reference (and intertextuality) to great composers gone by, the soundtrack is entirely appropriate for the film as it generates its own sense of drama. It is not a soundtrack that will pass by unregistered by the mind. In this sense it is never a mere accompaniment - instead working alongside the film and heightening drama in its own right. Displaying a fine range of tempos, themes, and moods - 'Night of the Long Knives' juxtaposed with 'Coronation Banquet' exemplify the soundtrack's ability to mix these while remaining true to a high level of intensity. The fact that the Oscars gave their ultimate nod of approval to 'Life is Beautiful' for 'Original Dramatic Score' and 'Shakespeare in Love'for 'Best Picture' shows how they continue to get it wrong. Such a decision would have the mighty queen turning in her grave but move on undeterred she will. It is highly unlikely that anyone will dislike this soundtrack and those are pretty good odds for the prospective buyer! To quote Shakespeare - "if music be the food of life, then play on"."