October 08

31 Days 31 Scores

October 8th


“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”

Welcome Back to 31 Days 31 Scores.  Today we look at a different type of Howard Shore score.  This one from the 1991 film The Silence Of The Lambs”  Shore has always been good at creating an atmosphere.  The “Main Title” here is no exception.  You feel a sense of foreboding and dread from the very beginning.  Yet a lighter tone does make its way through representing Agent Clarice Starling.  However, very much like Psycho there is a dominant string part that reminds us just what kind of film were in for.  As with most Shore scores of this era there is a determined plodding.  The score seems like it’s not going anywhere but it more about the vibe.  “Return To The Asylum” is a perfect example of this as it sets the vibe and makes us feel uneasy whenever Lecter is on screen but we may not be sure why.  “Lambs Screaming” continues this unease that Shore is crafting.  Again as before Shore is setting us off balance with cues that get in your mind and stick there.  “Lecter Escapes” breaks from the vibe to accent the horror of Lecter’s escape and what he does to the prison guards.  I have mentioned this before but Shore is a master of the slow burn score as the cues become more intense and suspenseful as the score goes along, this comes through repeated listening.  “The Cellar” is another tension filled slow burn cue and is the longest on the soundtrack at about 7 minutes.  The cue is filled with instrumental effects and dissonant sounds.  It is quite effective given its context in the film.  It ends however, in a very down beat non triumphant manner.  “Finale” ends in a quasi fairytale like way with very twisted ominous instrumentation.   Shore’s “The Silence Of The Lambs” is definitely worth the listen.  It was this score that made me notice Shore as a competent composer who could handle larger films.  Of course, 10 years later Shore would blow everyone out of the water with his score to the Lord Of The Rings saga.  However, it was interesting to hear those beginnings here.

Join me tomorrow for more 31 Days 31 Scores where “What you can’t see won’t hurt you… it’ll kill you!”