- Released: October 21, 2003
- Label: Warner Bros / WEA
- 1.Mystic River, film score: Mystic River-Main Title
- 2.Mystic River, film score: Abduction
- 3.Mystic River, film score: Communion / Katie's Absence
- 4.Mystic River, film score: Jimmy's Anguish
- 5.Mystic River, film score: Meditation #1 - Piano
- 6.Mystic River, film score: Orchestral Variation #1 of the Music from Mystic River
- 7.Mystic River, film score: Escape from the Wolves
- 8.Mystic River, film score: The Morgue
- 9.Mystic River, film score: Brendan's Love of Katie
- 10.Mystic River, film score: Meditation #2 - Piano
- 11.Mystic River, film score: Dave's Past
- 12.Mystic River, film score: The Confrontation
- 13.Mystic River, film score: The Resolution
- 14.Mystic River, film score: A Full Heart
- 15.Mystic River, film score: Meditation #3 - Piano
- 16.Mystic River, film score: Orchestral Variation #2 of the Music from Mystic River
- 17.Mystic River, film score: Theme from Mystic River
- 19.Black Emerald Blues
Original score composed by Clint Eastwood and conducted by Lennie Niehaus.
Includes liner notes by Bruce Ricker.
Personnel: Brad Hatfield (piano).
Liner Note Author: Bruce Ricker.
Recording information: Symphony Hall, Boston, MA (03/31/2003/04/01/2003).
Photographer: Hank O'Neal.
Unknown Contributor Role: John Oliver.
Arranger: Gennady Loktionov.
Like his film, Clint Eastwood's original score for Mystic River is an elegant, sometimes brooding, and often wistful meditation on nostalgia, loss, possibility and its absence, and ultimately, acceptance. Performed by pianist Brad Hatfield, the score's opening theme contains all the others. Voiced with an understated yet stylish piano, Eastwood's love of Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi is obvious, but he uses space like Erroll Garner. Immediately upon its cessation, the dread-filled brooding of "Abduction" fills the speakers, where strings are almost swallowed by thin, swirling synth lines before emerging from the murk with a new picture of the theme, transformed, nostalgic, yearning for something previous. Eastwood's writing for this film is, much like his directorial achievement, single-pointed in its focus. Performed by the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood Festival Chorus, these ensembles are directed by Lennie Niehaus with orchestration by Patrick Hollenbeck. He knows exactly how to broach each scene, never overstating his intentions with bombast or drama when a simple trill will do, or a short, clipped series of keyboard chords that have just enough sustain on them to open onto what comes next cinematically. Musically that is all present, and one gets the sense of foreshadowing throughout. "Jimmy's Anguish" utilizes the theme once again; it is undercoated with the ambient orchestral sound of a coming thunder that never quite tears open the sky. It is one of the most moving musical sequences in the entire score. Likewise, "Orchestral Variation No. 1 on the Music of Mystic River" clocks in in at just over seven and a half minutes, making it the longest piece in the set. Its restraint lies within its intensity; it builds quietly and ambiguously, until the emotion in the center of it -- played by a full string section -- ceases at its apex, giving way to a piano line that seems to toy with silence before a startling harp swoop and strings take it out. The interaction between the piano and the larger ensemble is breathtaking. Elsewhere, such as on "Communion/Katie's Absence" and "The Morgue," Eastwood employs a full chorus that wordlessly intones those same emotions that have no name because they are so large. But there is no soaring, crashing, or bombast here -- just murky, pronounced sound without artifice that points to the swell of feeling beneath. The entire work is so moving it's a wonder it comes off so low-key in the film. The final two tracks on the set are by Eastwood's son Kyle. They are ?ber modern, in contrast to the jazzy classicism of the rest of the score. They employ horn sections, electric bass, and keyboards playing funk and smoky blues jams that highlight barroom scenes; in their element, they too are quite remarkable. This is a score for listening, not background music; it will stimulate the listener toward reflection and reminiscence. ~ Thom Jurek