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Genius by Lorne Balfe [Main Title Theme by Hans Zimmer] (Review)

posted Jul 11, 2017, 12:05 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Jul 11, 2017, 12:07 PM ]

Lorne Balfe’s collaboration with Ron Howard goes all the way back to The Da Vinci Code where he worked on Hans Zimmer’s team on some of Ron Howard’s biggest films. On Genius, Ron Howard served as an executive producer and was able to put Lorne in place to compose an extremely rich and detailed score full of character development and resonating emotions. For Genius, Lorne was able to really flex his writing muscles and paint us a portrait of Albert Einstein that truly engages the audience on a deep organic level.

In reviewing Churchill, it was evident that Lorne had an amazing knack for “portrait scores”. I affectionally categorize biopic scores as “portrait scores”, because their goal is to essentially paint a portrait of an iconic figure and allow the audience to resonate with them on an emotional and human level. These scores have the challenge of usually scoring an A-List actor truly getting lost within the role. In this case it’s Geoffrey Rush truly immersing himself as Einstein with Johnny Flynn portraying young Einstein. What the score does here is really bring us into the thought process of Einstein, and through that we unlock his inner emotions. The score is a lush meshing of piano and strings with occasional electronic textures. But the music literally paints the arcs so boldly and clearly that it grabs your soul. You can feel the rush of being in a complex state of thought, you can feel pain during lower moments and an overall sense of narrative progression. The use of electronics warp the more orchestral sounds to give the sense of something new being born out of the familiar. It’s not as on the nose as say “electronics represent the brain neurons firing”, but it does open up a unique avenue. What the score also does well is actually present dramatic stakes, we feel tension and danger as well when the intensity rises. This score isn't only great at opening up the characters, but giving the narrative a backbone. This soundtrack album gives a great representation of the music from the show, but be sure to get both the main release and the EP release. It was a confusing way to release the score, but the EP release has different music and is worth getting as well.

Genius is exceptional scoring from Balfe who seems to have struck storytelling gold by painting portraits through music. Both this and Churchill are exceptional examples of how to flesh out an iconic historical figure and allow us as an audience to relate to them on an emotional level. As a series, Genius allows the music to really grow and flow with the story more so than a film would have allowed. The score’s structure is really superb, and we get both chill-inducing swells of inspiration as well as smaller intimate emotions. Genius is Lorne firing on all cylinders and should not be missed.