Valleyshadows Art Presentation



Caldera Records is proud to present the score for the motion picture “Valley of Shadows” from 2017, directed by Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen, featuring music by Zbigniew Preisner.
The story of “Valley of Shadows” was inspired by a wide variety of sources, mostly going back to the director’s childhood: “I am interested in fables and allegories, in mythology and children’s tales, these stories that we often believe are regional but are actually extremely universal, sometime with a moral and often with joyful gravitas. One example is Draumkvedet (The Dream Poem), a Norwegian ballad from the Middle Ages. I read a lot when I was a child – traditional stories of course – but especially Swedish literature for children. As a child, I thought a lot and was hungry to learn. Reading Bruno Bettelheim was also something that I draw greatly from.”
When it came to selecting the composer for the film, Gulbrandsen used his familiarity with the Polish film industry to get in touch with a living legend of the field. Born in Bielsko-Biała in 1955, Zbigniew Preisner has been composing music in his native Poland since the early 1980s. He is best-known for his work with Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski on his epic “Three Colors” trilogy. The collaboration was ground-breaking in more than one sense for the composer – it wasn’t only the fastest score he has ever realized, but it also introduced him to new concepts as he explains: “Jonas had the vision of having mostly electronic music, that it should be narration in film, and that it should be played from the beginning to the end. I am not fan of such usage of music in film but in this case, the director turned out to be right. The combination of symphonic and electronic music gave an amazing effect, though this was the first time I used so much electronics for a picture.” For the highlights of the score, the combination of electronic and symphonic elements is augmented by the voice of Lisa Gerrard who appears in both Valley of Shadows and Valley of Shadows – Wake Up. Connected by the middle passage entitled Odyssey, this 18-minute long, almost continuous segment underscores the moments as Aslak finds something he cannot comprehend.
The 28th CD-release of Caldera Records features a detailed booklet-text by Gergely Hubai and elegant artwork by Luis Miguel Rojas. The CD was produced by Stephan Eicke and John Elborg.

Music Composed by Zbigniew Preisner
Album Produced by Stephan Eicke
Executive Producers for Caldera Records: John Elborg, Stephan Eicke

Valley of Shadows
1. Aslak’s Dream (1:16)
2. The Calling (9:47)
3. The Shadow (3:10)
4. The Forest Gate (3:13)
5. Alas (3:38)
6. Search of Lost Time (4:22)
7. Moon (1:16)
8. Journey in the Woods (7:24)
9. Before Dawn (6:59)
10. Valley of Shadows (3:52)*
11. Odyssey (12:07)
12. Valley of Shadows ・Wake Up (1:20)*
13. Metamorphosis (7:22)
14. Afterlife (3:59)

* Vocals by Lisa Gerrard

Listen to a 5 min clip here:

Buy the CD here:
IFFMA (Germany)
Music Box Records (France)
Soundtrack Corner (Germany)
Rosebud (Spain)
Screen Archives (USA)
Intrada (USA)

“Working as a seamless unit with his cinematographer brother Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen, and making majestic use of a melancholy, trance-like score by the great Kieslowski collaborator Zbigniew Preisner, the director shows bold assurance that helps paper over thin stretches in the narrative.”
Hollywood Reporter

“To provide a correspondingly enthralling yet disquieting score, Gulbrandsen enlists Krzysztof Kieślowski favourite Zbigniew Preisner, whose blend of piano and electronic instruments proves just as astutely crafted.”
Screen Daily

If you are into ambient minimalism, it rarely gets better than this; there’s no drama, no loud moments, just that eternal, sparse flow of sounds. I’ve been missing dearly an album like this. Brian Eno once said that “Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting”. “Valley of shadows” fits right in.”
Soundtrack Dreams

Shot in 35mm by the director’s brother Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen using achingly beautiful images that feel as if they’re recalling some forgotten legend of Norse mythology (with a touch of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”), the film isolates this eerily fair-skinned child in a shadowy landscape of inchoate menace, accompanied by Zbigniew Preisner’s richly realized orchestral score.”

It is a minimalist, but beautiful work by Preisner with sustained notes for strings, a male choir and synths, which present a sense of purity, even a certain religiosity or mysticism. Considering the genre, this is quite striking, and I imagine it will fascinate some listeners while it might bore others.”

“The composer created a soundtrack with orchestra, synthesizers and with the prominent use of the piano to create an atmosphere that is placid, melancholy and dramatic. The voice of Lisa Gerrard has a magical, gothic air to it, and it helps to provide a sense of mystery. It is slow, atmospheric, at times hazy and lyrical as well as luminous.”

“This is a beautifully lyrical and mesmerizing work which is as sonically enchanting as it is haunting. The music’s dark and menacing fabric manages to be creepy but evocative, deliriously compelling and yet dangerously foreboding.”

“It’s an album that you can give your full attention to, as what at first appears mellow and ambient, is in fact multilayered and carefully structured. It’s not, however, a soundtrack that you can dip in and out of very easily. This is a score that you need to listen to from start to finish, as some of the themes and motifs grow and shift as the album progresses. It’s a beautifully rich score that is extremely rewarding.”

“This is a beautifully lyrical and mesmerizing work which is as sonically enchanting as it is haunting. The music’s dark and menacing fabric manages to be creepy but evocative, deliriously compelling and yet dangerously foreboding.”

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