Violin Sonata in A major (4) Cesar Franck
After a meteoric rise to soundtrack prominence, British composer (and former songwriter for Seal) Henry Jackman is now a BAFTA nominee with his energetic, breathless score for the Tom Hanks adventure Captain Phillips.
Part of director Paul Greengrass' unique aesthetic for Captain Phillips was to make it appear as realistic as possible - and to match it, Jackman's score is immediately tense and taut, pregnant with bouncing plucked strings and deep bass sonorities.
captain phillips soundtrack guide
The tension suddenly explodes in the film when it becomes apparent that two approaching skiffs are not peaceful visitors, and Jackman's soundtrack follows suit with this nerve-wracking extract that warns of what is to come.
After scaring off the pirate skiffs once, a second attempt to board the Maersk Alabama is more successful. The strangled-sounding strings and the ever-increasing tempo combine to tension-building effect here - it's almost unbearable.
As the pirates' leader (played by Barkhad Abdi) finally assumes control over the ship, a strange new calm takes over as Captain Phillips (and the audience) try to work out the next move.
The pulsing percussion returns here, taking the score into realms not dissimilar from the much admired Metal Gear Solid video game soundtracks.
Much of the film's action takes place in the claustrophobic confines of a tiny lifeboat, and Jackman's score is quick to capitalise on the musical possibilities of the setting, with clanging percussion and tripping rhythms.
Help is soon on the way, though, in the shape of USS Bainbridge and some accompanying US Navy boats. However, the tension is still a long way from being resolved and Jackman's score continues to be relentlessly pressurised and oppressive to the ear.
The intrigue of a charged hostage situation comes to the fore now, as the score reflects the narrative. Captain Phillips is being held hostage, but there's a whole team of professionals dedicated to getting him out alive - and the clock is ticking. Jackman wastes no opportunity to wring even the slightest bit of worry and tension out of the score.
As the title suggests, it's not as easy as the Navy first predicted it would be to bargain with the pirates, and the realisation that other means may be necessary calls for eerie menace in the score.
In a breathless shift in tempo, signified by clattering percussion, tensely vibrating strings and ominous brass notes.
The activity continues and the soundtrack starts to feel like the momentum surely can't be sustained for much longer. Something has to resolve those clashing strings and silence those thunderous drums, surely?
The negotiations between the Navy and the pirates continue, all while Captain Phillips remains helplessly captive on the tiny lifeboat. Soon, a high-risk plan comes together that will involve subterfuge of the highest order.
Jackman's by-now trademark clashing string quavers continue to dance over the top of ominous brass and lower string chords, as the risky plan begins to take shape, unbeknown to the hostage Tom Hanks on board the lifeboat.
One more terrifying encounter before the film's climax means that the tension in Jackman's score has to reach its zenith - and it does so in exactly the same manner as before. The intensity is unrivalled anywhere else in the film, and the listener can't help but be swept along with it.
captain phillips soundtrack guide