Review

Hildur Guðnadóttir, Cate Blanchett, Sophie Kauer

TÁR (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture)

Deutsche Grammophon • 2023

The film hasn’t been shown in Germany yet, but the soundtrack is already available. Whereby the word »soundtrack« is not entirely correct. This album features music from Todd Field’s drama »TÁR«, that is, music that can be heard in the film, such as Mahler and Elgar, or music written for the film by Hildur Guðnadóttir, who has long since succeeded Jóhann Jóhannsson as Iceland’s film music star. Guðnadóttir also wrote a few pieces inspired by the film about the conductor Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) that are not actually featured in it. In her contributions, Guðnadóttir reflects primarily on her beginnings as an adventurous drone cellist, and indeed the cello as an instrument does play a significant role in the film. The orchestral pieces are mostly incomplete movements from symphonies and concertos, i.e. snatches of rehearsals that were performed with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. In the film, they play the music and can also be seen collectively in the role of the Berlin Philharmonic. In between, Blanchett makes announcements for the musicians, which justifies her name being printed on the cover. So you have a few self-contained pieces next to fragments from Tár’s everyday work. It’s not quite as interesting without the images as it is in the context of the film. The transfer works most successfully in a reproduced conservatory class, in which Tár plays Bach’s C major prelude from the first part of the »Das Wohltemperierte Klavier« and comments on her varying interpretation for the students. Cate Blanchett even sits down at the piano herself. An unusual record for a great film.