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Anne Frank's Holocaust by Mark Leggett (Review)

posted Sep 17, 2015, 1:10 PM by michael@filmmusicmedia.com

The documentary Anne Frank's Holocaust by director Erik Nelson first aired in this year's June on the National Geographic Channel. In just under ninety minutes, the filmmaker shows us the horrible atrocities that so many people had to go through at that time.

The composer for this task was the experienced TV movie and documentary composer Mark Leggett. He has written music for a large number of projects for the past twenty years and he sure seemed up to the task. I am not sure what the director and his composer discussed in detail, when they were working on the project, but since the album is really short, with just fifteen minutes of music, it feels like they wanted a minimum of music and just let the images and the narration speak for themselves. Given the nature of the project, it must have been a hard task. How do you accompany these terrible events musically? The composer predominantly wrote for cello, piano and strings with just a very brief use of choir at the end of “Loss Of Self” and some acoustic guitar. I think the instrumentation was chosen properly and you can't go wrong with the use of the cello in this case. It is an instrument with tremendous warmth to it, but on other occasions, you can feel the sadness and the tragedy of the sound that you can create with it. By using just a few instruments you can do so much, from a composing standpoint. With his gentle cello and string writing, Mark Leggett did a fine job of capturing the mood of the story.

The cues are all very short and on the album there is simply not enough material that can deliver a superb listening experience, but the approach just feels right. I almost suspected that there was not going to be a large amount of music in this documentary, but I am certain they had their reason for incorporating very little score. Personally, I am very fond of this delicate, soft and sad music. In the end, the score by Mark Leggett feels very right for this documentary. If only there had been more music. I would definitely give this digital release a higher rating, if it wasn't for the short running time. When the album is concluded with a reprise of the first piece “The Simplest Things” I absolutely wanted to hear more from the composer.