Clint Mansell first came to my attention last year, when I bought his score for Moon. Fascinated by his inventive and thoughtful approach, I decided to sample some of his earlier work as well – which is how I acquired The Fountain. This sublime bit of musical craftsmanship is now, without a doubt, one my favorite film scores; and what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in substance and emotive depth. In the style of Philip Glass, the motifs used are simple and few, but Mansell compensates with remarkably complex scoring. The result? What might have been uselessly repetitive is instead fresh, gorgeous, and downright breathtaking.
The score quietly opens the The Last Man, a tender piano/string melody. It assumes a darker tone toward the end, in foreboding anticipation of Holy Dread!, the aptly-titled second cue. Xibalba and First Snow are both marked by a sense of serenity and reflection; Finish It is intense and hauntingly dissonant, getting off to a slow start and picking up speed as it goes. Most people cite Death Is The Road To Awe as the high-point of the album. I agree. This remarkable piece encompasses all of the score’s central motifs and mixes in a few surprises to boot, steadily building to a magnificent crescendo of choir and orchestra. The next (and last) track, Together We Will Live Forever, allows the listener to catch his breath while bringing everything to a thoughtful, relaxing conclusion.