"The Donner Party"
Music By Eimear Noone
21 Tracks/Disc Time:58:23
In 2009 a film that at was based on the real life events of The Donner Party tragedy starring "Back To The Future's" Crispin Glover, Christian Kane and Clayne Crawford. The Donner Party was a group of California-bound American settlers caught up in the western expansion of the 1840s. After becoming snowbound in the Sierra Nevada during the Winter of 1846-1847, a number of the trapped settlers joined together in a final effort to reach California and organize a rescue party to rescue those still trapped. The film was written and directed by Terrence J. Martin featuring very striking visuals and very good performances for an indie film.
Along with Martin's capable direction and the films' visuals, a rather important element of the film by far is the music of Eimear Noone, a very talented composer who's orchestrated and conducted scores for Javier Navarette and Kevin Blumenfeld and composed music for short films making "The Donner Party her first full major film score following in the footsteps as illustrious composers such as the late Shirley Walker, Lolita Ritmanis, Lisa Gerrard, Oscar Winners Rachel Portman and Anne Dudley. The score is a very tense and has an old time Western feel with emphasis on solo cellos, Indian flute and the thunderous percussion with a grand orchestrial feel with poignancy and subtle material lovingly displayed in the opening track "Colder". The full power of the score through its' thunderous percussion rumbles is exhibited in the "Main Title" adding an errie Indian motif along with a chilling atmosphere of tension before the warmth of the cello appears to ease the mood.
The rest of the score features some very intense material with emphasis on both tension and terror at times in which Noone expertly balances through flute, cello and percussion as they were established as the primary solo instruments in the score that will influence and dominate the score melodically. Tracks such as "Draw Lots of Life", "At Civilization's End", "Tricks Of The Mind", "Primal Compass", and "Dead Cold Hands" really bring out tension, suspense and urgency of these survivors that reminds me a bit of the music from "Ravenous" which featured a chilling Michael Nyman and Damon Albon score. "My Love Must", "Heavy Is The Lamenting Heart", "My Love Will Warm The Chill Wind", "Love Still Lives" and "Sorrowful Landscape" are excellent highlights that features Noone really showing her best with dramatic material and these really stood out for me because of the delicacy of the orchestration and beautiful progression of the melodic themes waving in and out to a great coda that are the positive side of this score.
This is score is a very neat surprise and one that is one of the year's positive releases. The music is melodic, it is intriguing and more importantly, it's a full blooded work that features the effort of Eimear Noone, who I had never heard of until now and is going to be a composer to watch a close eye on the years to come especially if she keeps up this style of work which is very solid. "The Donner Party" is the breakout party of Eimear Noone and I'm looking forward to her next score. Very solid debut and solid Thumbs up!