Pope's "The Sound of Violet"
The new romantic dramedy by writer-director Allen Wolf (Harlem Grace), is an adaptation of his novel The Sound of Violet. It focuses on a developing relationship between a young man with autism and woman that he falls in love with and is determined that she is his soul mate. He is unable to realize though that she is a prostitute and this results in his family trying to disconnect the two. Conrad Pope is a familiar name for film music fans in his role as a brilliant orchestrator and conductor. While he will also provide some additional music from time to time, full scoring opportunities pop up fairly rarely. His last feature was when he stepped in to provide additional material for the stunning My Week with Marilyn (2011).
“Every Date is New” opens with a gorgeous piano theme that has its own moment of twisted melodic shifts to hint at what is to come. Pope’s harmonic ideas help also provide interesting color to these moments. There is a gentle innocence conveyed in his main theme here. Some of the mallet percussion gestures that appear have a Thomas Newman-like feel at times. The shift to more open intervals also helps achieve that quality at a subtle level. Little touches of harp with piano, and shimmering strings also add a touch of beauty. There is a slight ambience in the recording (with some slight airy electronic enhancement) as well which creates an ethereal effect from time to time. The darker shifts in tone begin in “Beneath the Surface” as lower strings hint in a murkier lower range and a plaintive English Horn (later French Horn) makes an appeal. Higher strings cut across the top to add a sense of unease. This will move us in to more dissonant territory as we begin to learn more about “Violet’s Secrets” (“The Truth About Violet”). “Violet’s Story” adds a bit of bittersweetness within the darker scoring that has a Puccini-esque poignancy. The arpeggiated ideas of the opening take on a quite different web of mystery and urgency in “Entrapment” which features some equally interesting instrumental timbres. “Breaking Free” provides a warm cello statement as the music tries to regain some of that hopefulness which opened the presentation, but things are still menaced from all sides. A touching quotation of “Amazing Grace” in the penultimate score track, “United”. Thus these final four tracks move us back into the gorgeous romantic music that opened the album heading towards a nice end credit summation.
The Sound of Violet is a sound, and often stunning beautiful romantic score. It has touches that one finds in other composers who parallel the style most associated with John Williams (a sort of cross between The Accidental Tourist and Stanley and Iris). Here Pope’s interesting harmonic shifts against a touching theme make this an inviting and engaging score. The album presentation closes with a song featuring Brandon Heath, “You Could Be Anywhere”.