MP3: No Place on Earth (2012)

September 13, 2013 | By

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Rating: Excellent

Label: Varese Sarabande / Released: June 11, 2013

Tracks & Album Length: 24 tracks / (50:45)

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Special Notes: Available as a digital album only.

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Composer: John Piscitello

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Review:

John Piscitello’s first soundtrack release is an auspicious showcase of his skills in writing themes and dramatic variations for the sensitive docu-drama No Place on Earth, which chronicles the incredible story of Jewish Ukrainians forced to hide in damp caves until the Soviet Army pushed the Nazis out of their country.

The titular theme is both lovely and tinged with sadness, buoyed by a folk melody, and performed by piano with strings and French horn accompaniment. Piano is in fact the main melodic propellant in the score, providing warmness or moments of intimate horror; or slowly drawn material for a lengthy suspense sequences where the Nazis interrogate the families before marching them out of the cave system, only to lose a large group in pools of darkness and twisting cave channels.

The score was crafted with an appropriate level of sensitivity, avoiding the pitfalls of melodrama and overstating the dire emotions of the film’s subjects, and there are a handful of cues where Piscitello allows for a little lightness, notably in “Horse,” where a folk melody on clarinet is carried on by piano, with a breezy jazz rhythm on string bass – a choice that’s actually not jarring, since the story unfolds from contemporary interviews which spin-off into dramatic recreations.

Varese Sarabande’s nicely mastered album features the score’s full narrative, but the non-chronological sequencing has the album end rather abruptly; perhaps the main theme, placed early in the album, should’ve been repeated with an alternate take at the end for a more satisfying finale.

A podcast interview with composer John Piscitello is also available.

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© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB DVD ReviewComposer Website

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Select Merchants:

Amazon.ca Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk — BSX — Intrada — SAE

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