Music By Conrad Pope
21 Tracks/Disc Time: 44:08
Grade: A (BEST OF 2014)
The film, “Tim’s Vermeer” was a recently released documentary directed by Teller, of “Penn and Teller” fame released by Sony Pictures Classics that explores San Antonio inventor but non-artist Tim Jenison’s quest to understand the painting techniques used by Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer. He intended to prove that the unprecedented detail of a Vermeer painting could perhaps only be done with a mechanical device. He builds one, makes his own lenses, grinds his own period paints and then laboriously but precisely paints his own Vermeer. The film is a very funny and poignant look at a real life obsession that ultimately reached a positive result in the end. The film is set to make its’ DVD and Blu-Ray debut sometime this Spring/Summer.
With the film needing a score that would be captivating, compelling, dramatic and whimsical at the same time, Teller turned to his first and only choice, reknowned orchestrator, conductor and exceptional composer in his own right, Conrad Pope to not only have fun with the film in it’s candidness but also the struggles of Jenison and ultimately his triumph to prove his theory. Pope whose work in his terrific solo efforts in “Pavillion Of Women”, “The Rising Place”, “The Presence” and “My Week With Marilyn” have always shone and have been fondly remembered for the depth and bold presence that they feature is easily one of Hollywood’s unsung heroes who deserves more work outside of orchestrating and conducting. Pope’s wonderful score ranges from both the classical Viennesse style to hip, cool jazz that perfectly intertwine with each other perfectly. The music is rapturous and memorable as music should always sound like especially nowadays and Pope’s score just simply sparkles from start to finish.
Starting with the very memorable “Vermeer’s Theme” which is wonderfully orchestrated filled with lush, melodic material that really sets up the passion that this score radiates throughout its’ solid running time and gets a potent version later on in “Vermeer’s Theme – Variation”. If you really want to hear how wonderful this score really is just take a listen to “Tim Paints” and listen to that brilliant piano and elegant flute solo that just builds as if we’re painting along with Jenison while the string comes in to pad the beauty of this track. It really is very dynamic and really follows this up with “…. And Paints”, which is like the second half of long picture paused at the intermission and returning to the brilliance of the previous half with just as much elegance and wistfulness. Also, check out the sheer ferocity of “Finishing The Painting” where you can just hear the passion of those strings soaring and soaring to a grand finale of great music bursting at the seams. The score also features some other terrific highlights such as “Painting Father-In-Law”, “Tim Builds Vermeer’s Room”, “The Music Lesson”, and “A New Optical Instrument” that are just as memorable if not compelling as the other tracks on the album.
Milan’s album features a very healthy amount of wistful melodic music that really really works and it really demonstrates why Conrad Pope should really be getting more and more film assignments as a composer. His work is truly exception and I honestly, can’t stop raving about it. It is so good that even fans of classical music will love this album not just soundtrack collectors. Pope’s work really shines in both musical arenas of jazz and classical with brilliant success. From the get go, this is a score that will grab you and make its’ mark when it’s all said and done and this one really did it for me. Give Teller credit when he wanted the best for this film and he truly got it from Conrad Pope. Bravo! Major thumbs way up!