Decca Records is excited to announce the release of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for the Bleecker Street and Topic Studios comedy-drama ‘Dream Horse,’ composed by Benjamin Woodgates. The digital soundtrack is available on all major streaming platforms, coinciding with the U.S. theatrical release on May 21, 2021, two weeks before the U.K. release on June 4, 2021.
Benjamin Woodgates is one of the UK’s most sought-after young composers. An alumnus of Oxford University and the Royal College of Music, his strong sense of musicality, broad stylistic reach and sensitivity towards picture is evident in his scores for film, installation, video games and high-profile advertising campaigns. He has also worked extensively as an orchestrator and musical director for film and television, recent credits including Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Victoria and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Orchestrator); Madeleine Sims-Fewer’s Violation (Conductor); and Terence Davies’ Benediction (Musical Director & Arranger).
Directed by Euros Lyn (Doctor Who), the film tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town Welsh bartender, Jan Vokes (Academy Award® nominee Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream in the hope he can compete with the racing elites. The group’s investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks with grit and determination and goes on to race in the Welsh Grand National, showing the heart of a true champion.
There are two sound worlds in Benjamin’s Dream Horse score. One is that of Cefn Fforest, the village in Wales that is home to the film’s ensemble of characters. At the start of the film, these characters are trapped in a cycle of monotony and struggle to relate to one another. To represent them musically, Benjamin pieced together a rag-tag ensemble of instruments, including an old upright piano, a harmonium, a fiddle, and an accordion. The musical result is wheezy, clunky and jagged edged to begin with; however, as the characters bond together to form a syndicate, so does the sound of the ensemble, bringing out the warmth and character that underlies each of these instruments.
The second sound world is built around the horseraces in the film. In stark contrast to the homespun feel of the village ensemble, Benjamin employed a string orchestra to reflect the prestige of the racecourse and to emphasize the sense of alienation and exclusion felt by the characters as they find themselves up against the racing elites. In the run-up to each race, the orchestra plays with sophisticated reserve; however, as the action zooms in to the race itself, the shackles are off, and listeners will hear a different side of the ensemble altogether – one that aims to capture the mud-spattered, unforgiving nature of the turf.
Regarding the music for Dream Horse, Benjamin Woodgates had the following to say:
“Euros Lyn [director] and I worked closely together to create the musical blueprint for this score, meeting regularly in the cutting room in Cardiff and picking up the phone to bounce ideas back and forth. Euros is an accomplished musician himself but made a point of communicating through dramatic and emotional ideas rather than using musical terminology, so that we could build a musical language from the ground up. He had prepared a broad palette of musical references for the tone of the film as a whole – everything from Nick Cave to The Velvet Underground – but was careful to keep these as broad as possible in the hope that we could forge our own sound for Dream Horse.
Euros was keen to give each race scene its own distinct identity, so each race cue has its own musical flavour and structure, governed by what’s at stake. Dream Alliance himself is voiced as a solo violin – capricious, un-tamed, brilliant – which vies against the mass of the string orchestra, refusing to yield to its pull. This counterpoint between solo violin and ensemble underpins all the race sequences, through highs and lows, a battling duet, an unrelenting passacaglia, and a barnstorming rondo-finale.
One of the film’s key themes is that of giving voice to the unheard; both literally, in the case of Dream Alliance, and more symbolically for Jan and her community. In the early scenes the score lies near-dormant, its step-wise motion punctured only by Jan’s sheer force of will and a faint rumbling of hope. However, as Jan sets out to realize her dream and rekindle a sense of belief in her community, the rumblings intensify and the music’s melodic contours begin to soar.”
- The Syndicate
- Just Starting On It Now
- Cefn Fforest
- The Hwyl
- Be Brave And Brilliant
- It’s Not Much, But It’s Home
- In For A Penny
- Life Cycle
- I’m Jan
- Sixteen To One
- This Won’t Get Out Of Hand
- Aintree – Prelude
- Aintree – Ground
- By A Thread
- Hanging In The Balance
- The Gallops
- Tacking Up
- Let Him Run
- Proper Valley Boy
You can check out the soundtrack for Dream Horse on digital now!
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