FENCES by Marcelo Zarvos
Zarvos can be a little on the sugary side which is not a bad thing but in a film where family emotions are high and the patriarchal role, [Troy played by Denzel Washington] dominates everyone around him due to his own shortcomings – you need a score delivering tension and big emotions.
The first track Gabriel’s Trumpet is piano led, plaintive and slow – which is what Zarvos does well. Piano notes laced together have a tenderness and a questioning heightened by the unobtrusive strings hovering in the background. It does get your attention.
We meet the son who causes the most inner turmoil in Troy in Corey’s Theme where the strings suggest a tentativeness on the son’s part to not invoke his fathers fury.
Alone at the Bar, has so much sorrow at the beginning. The cue is stripped down to four piano notes at the beginning, then a piano and lone flute and not much more but it conveys so much. It’s in You Got The Devil In You where the momentum starts. Low, cello strings with high, stretching violins and a beating drum make a heady mix of tension.
Troy’s Story has a lingering string line which drips away constantly subtly promoting confusion and anger. Whereas Rose’s Theme is more lyrical. The longest cue is saved for last: God’s Closet which is pretty much in the same tone as the rest of the score though half way there is a piano piece which flows more quickly signifying something is changing – it’s quietly life affirming.
Zarvos does deliver on both the tension and the pathos. This will not be a score which will be played for pleasure, not all soundtracks have to have this element and when reviewing a score this is not an item that is accounted for. Listening to this soundtrack against the story of the film, it’s the slow, steady pace of the music which gives attention to every single note.
There are 4 tracks/songs from the period on this soundtrack as well.
1. Gabriel’s Trumpet
2. Cory’s Theme
3. Alone at the Bar
4. You Don’t Know What Love Is – Dinah Washington
5. You Got The Devil In You
6. Peace Be Still – Reverend James Cleveland
7. A Womanless Man
9. Troy’s Story
10. I Will Wear a Crown – Reverend James Cleveland
11. Rose’s Theme
12. They Could Do Nothing for Her
14. City Hall
15. A Dog Named Blue
16. Day by Day – Little Jimmy Scott
17. God’s Closet