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Milan Records: "AMMONITE" music by Dustin O’Halloran and Volker Bertelmann


Milan Records today announces the November 13 release of Ammonite (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) with music by Dustin O’Halloran and Volker Bertelmann. Available for pre-order now, the album features music written by the duo for director Francis Lee’s critically-acclaimed film starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan. Continuing a fruitful creative partnership, the nine-track album features music co-composed by O’Halloran and Bertelmann, who previously teamed on the Academy® Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe® Award-nominated score for 2016’s Lion, A Christmas Carol and more.  Making its debut alongside today’s preorder is the soundtrack’s lead single “Fossils,” a stirringly moving and romantic track – listen here.  Following its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), NEON will open the film in select theaters on Friday, November 13.

Of the soundtrack, composers O’Halloran and Bertelmann say, “Writing music for Ammonite was a smooth and natural process. We already knew from director Francis Lee’s previous work this would be a score full of emotion and restraint. Because the film is a period piece, it also meant finding a tone and instrumentation that would work in this world. The overall length of music recorded is somewhat shorter than our other scores; therefore, we used many natural sounds, so when the pieces arrive, it feels meaningful. We decided for a small chamber group of strings and piano as our palette and worked from there. Francis’s original idea was to find a single piece of music playing in parts and come to a full suite at the end. In some ways, this was how we approached it, save for a few moments of score specific to the scene. We found the strong acting that both Kate and Saoirse brought meant we needed to offer space, and try not to overstep. The last piece of music in the film, during the museum scene, represented a full understanding of the emotions that played out between the two characters.”

Ammonite tells the story of acclaimed self-taught paleontologist Mary Anning, who works alone on the wild and brutal Southern English coastline of Lyme Regis in the 1840s. The days of her famed discoveries behind her, she now hunts for common fossils to sell to rich tourists to support herself and her ailing widowed mother. When one such tourist, Roderick Murchison, arrives in Lyme on the first leg of a European tour, he entrusts Mary with the care of his young wife Charlotte, who is recuperating from a personal tragedy. Mary, whose life is a daily struggle on the poverty line, cannot afford to turn him down but, proud and relentlessly passionate about her work, she clashes with her unwanted guest. They are two women from utterly different worlds. Yet despite the chasm between their social spheres and personalities, Mary and Charlotte discover they can each offer what the other has been searching for: the realization that they are not alone. It is the beginning of a passionate and all-consuming love affair that will defy all social bounds and alter the course of both lives irrevocably.

Dustin O’Halloran is an American pianist and composer with four acclaimed solo albums under his own name, and is a member of the band A Winged Victory for the Sullen with Adam Wiltzie. He released his first EP for renowned classical musical label Deutsche Grammophon in 2019, with a new album currently in the works, and A Winged Victory For The Sullen released their latest album, The Undivided Five, on Ninja Tune the same year.

O’Halloran’s film career began with Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006), and since then he’s worked on multiple films and TV shows, including Like Crazy (2011) and Breathe In (2013), directed by Drake Doremus and both starring Felicity Jones. He also scored Marc Turtletaub’s Puzzle (2018), for whose closing song he collaborated with veteran Scandinavian chart-topper Ane Brun, and George Tillman Jr.’s critically acclaimed The Hate U Give (2018).

He’s the winner of a 2015 Emmy Award for his main title theme to Amazon’s comedy drama Transparent (2014–2017), and was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a Critics Choice Award for his score to Lion (2016), written in collaboration with Volker Bertelmann (aka Hauschka). He also collaborated with Bertelmann to score A Christmas Carol (2019) starring Guy Pearce, Ammonite (2020) starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, and The Old Guard (2020) starring Charlize Theron. Other collaborations include with Bryan Senti on the Sky TV series Save Me (2018–).

In addition, he worked as a producer for Katy Perry’s song ‘Into Me You See’ from her 2017 album, Witness, and appears on Leonard Cohen’s 2019 posthumous album, Thanks For The Dance.

Volker Bertelmann is an internationally-acclaimed pianist, composer and experimental musician. His score for Garth Davis’ Oscar-nominated film Lion, which he composed in collaboration with Dustin O’Halloran, was nominated for multiple awards: for the 2016 Oscar for Best Original Score, for the 2016 Golden Globes for Best Original Score, for Best Score at the 2016 Critics’ Choice Awards, for Best Original Score-Feature Film at the 2016 Hollywood Music in Media Awards, and for Best Film Music at the 2016 British Academy Film Awards, or BAFTAs. Since then, Bertelmann has provided music for several leading films and television series. He composed the score for Patrick Melrose, Showtime’s Emmy-and BAFTA nominated mini-series, and for Gunpowder, the HBO mini-series starring Kit Harington. He also composed film scores for Adrift, the 2018 romantic drama directed by Baltasar Kormákur, and, again in collaboration with O’Halloran, for The Art of Racing in The Rain, which is based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein. In 2018, he accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Bertelmann, who in his solo work goes by the name Hauschka, is a uniquely innovative pianist; he is renowned both for his trademark sound, which he achieves by preparing the piano with various small objects, and his ability to improvise entire performances. His output is prodigious: he tours extensively, and has produced over twenty albums and EPs, both solo and in collaboration with others. He has worked, among many others, with the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he was the artist in residence, with Múm, the Icelandic experimental musical group, and with the Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn.

Jeremy [Six Strings]

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