Before I watched Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain I had already checked out the score by Clint Mansell. He had caught my attention with his strange music for the same director’s Requiem for a Dream from which I especially liked the Summer Overture. Both scores feature the Kronos Quartet which I was familiar with from their great album of Philip Glass’ string quartets. In the score for The Fountain the instrumental rock band Mogwai is added to the mix and Mansell wisely keeps their special sound in his compositions.
When I watched the movie I wasn’t able to make complete sense out of it. It has stunning visuals but is too cryptic and too smart for its own good. What really made it worth watching was the music.
The album begins with a quiet piece for piano and string quartet which introduces a repeating motif that features throughout the score. It’s a piece of reflection whose mood reminds me of The Poet Acts from the soundtrack for The Hours (also the first track), written by Philip Glass. Then it gradually builds up until we reach Tree of Life (track 3), which gives a hint of what to expect in the grand finale. The next highlight is Xibalba (track 6) which I guess is the love theme. It’s a beautifully atmospheric piece which combines a solo violin with a distant sounding choir. The finale and highlight of the album comes in the eight-and-a-half-minute long Death is the Road to Awe (track 9), with the repeating motif gradually building up to a climax where Mansell pulls out all the stops and releases the full powers of Mogwai. Then the next track ends the album in the same quiet vein as it started.
Clint Mansell’s score to The Fountain is one of the most interesting scores I’ve heard in recent years and I recommend it highly.
Check out the score on Spotify (an account is required).