RUBINROT – Philipp F. Kölmel
Original Review by Jonathan Broxton
Rubinrot is a children’s fantasy adventure film based on the first book in the “Liebe Geht Durch Alle Zeiten” series of popular German-language novels written by Kerstin Gier. The story follows a young girl, Gwendolyn Shepherd, who discovers that she and all the other members of her family can travel through time, and explores the opportunities and disadvantages such powers bring. The film is directed by Felix Fuchssteiner, stars Maria Ehrich, Jannis Niewöhner and Laura Berlin, and has a score by 40-year-old Philipp F. Kölmel, yet another composer who was completely unknown to me prior to this project.
Yet again, the music is unexpectedly great – fully orchestral, dark and powerful in parts, light and playful in others, with a real epic sweep. The opening cue, “Ready When You Are”, is wonderful, full of slashing string writing, heroic brass calls and rolling percussion – what a beginning! The score goes through a gamut of styles and ideas, clearly earmarking Kölmel as a composer who has a great deal of confidence composing engaging music in a multitude of styles. “Awakening” introduces a more pastoral piano theme, gentle and intimate, which gets a lovely recapitulation later in “Farewell”. The cue for “London” has a superb, ominous choral chant buried under more roaring orchestral goodness, an idea which re-occurs regularly throughout the score.
“Leap in Time” is a flamboyant waltz-time action sequence with a central motif that buzzes around the orchestra; “A Good Time” continues the waltz concept with another lush, beautiful dance, this time led by prominent woodwinds; “August Peregrin Pimplebottom” has a wonderfully eccentric little march for harpsichords. Not only that but there are dozens of superbly ominous, powerful action sequences – many of them featuring a choir – any of which would whet the appetites of the most discerning Lord of the Rings fans. “Maddy’s Vision”, “Chronograph”, the second half of “Lady Margret Tilney”, “Time Traveller” and the thunderous “Hyde Park” will all rock the foundations of your house, while the heavenly “Observatory” has a sense of awe and wonderment that is very attractive indeed. It’s true that the thematic ideas in Rubinrot are a little under-defined, but the orchestrations and colors and instrumental combinations on show are just so much fun and so rich, the lack of a “big theme” feels less of a hindrance here than it would in a more circumspect score.
The soundtrack also contains several songs performed by the popular Spanish singer-songwriter Sofi de la Torre, notably her hit single “Faster”, but these will be of little interest to score fans. More than anything, Rubinrot should make anyone whose film music tastes lie in the action and fantasy arenas sit up and take notice, and should put Philipp F. Kölmel firmly at the top of the list of composers ready to make the leap to scoring this sort of film in Hollywood.
Track Listing: 1. Ready When You Are (1:51), 2. Faster (performed by Sofi de la Torre) (3:48), 3. Awakening (1:21), 4. London (1:53), 5. Time Travelling Gene (3:13), 6. The Perfect Fall (performed by Sofi de la Torre) (3:53), 7. Leap In Time (3:56), 8. Maddy’s Vision (1:58), 9. Mme Rossini (performed by Ferran Cruixent) (0:56), 10. Lucas Montrose (1:27), 11. Sunrise (0:39), 12. Temple Underground Station (1:35), 13. Recognise Me (performed by Sofi de la Torre) (3:49), 14. Chronograph (1:51), 15. A Good Time (1:26), 16. Confession (1:04), 17. James August Peregrin Pimplebottom (2:02), 18. Letter From The Past (2:46), 19. Lady Margret Tilney (2:22), 20. Gideon’s Promise (0:52), 21. Time Traveller (1:52), 22. Count of Saint Germain (4:51), 23. Hyde Park (2:36), 24. Reconciliation (1:31), 25. Farewell (1:40), 26. Library (1:54), 27. Observatory (3:47), 28. Dungeon (3:36), 29. Remembrance (1:59), 30. Wings (performed by Sofi de la Torre) (4:08). Sony Classical 88765476512; Running Time: 70:36.