Clint Mansell: Requiem For A Dream

Clint Mansell’s minimalist soundtrack to this 2000 psychological drama charts the deterioration of a group of drug addicts, and is best known for its declamatory, iconic 'Lux Aeterna', played by the Kronos Quartet.

Requiem for a Dream’s director Darren Aronofsky says his film is a monster movie – with addiction as the scary creature. Soundtrack composer Clint Mansell adds, “when something goes really bad, that's when you hear the music”. The stand-out track, 'Lux Aeterna', has been used in many other films and video games, including Assassin’s Creed and an orchestral arrangement called 'Requiem for a Tower', used in a trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Perhaps like no other modern soundtrack, Requiem For A Dream has become a musical byword for tension and nerve-shredding drama, thanks to the relentless, hammering strings in the 'Lux Aeterna'. It's one of the few pieces that could equally soundtrack a movie about addiction and something as frivolous as a TV talent show - but somehow, Mansell's triumphantly depressing music has managed this bizarre balancing act. Be warned, though: no amount of reality TV fluff can dim the power of this soundtrack when heard in context. It is truly brutal, brilliant stuff.

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

music nerd

10 things you do when you're a massive classical music nerd

Meerkat falling asleep to music theory class

This meerkat falling asleep to a music theory class is such a happy sight

game of thrones musical notation

Musical terminology, illustrated by Game of Thrones