“Westender” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Limited Edition of 500 copies
Label: KMRCD 017
Film Date: 2003
Album Date: 2009
Directed by Brock Morse, Westender focuses on the adventures of the titular knight Asbrey of Westender who had fallen from grace and became a mere shadow of his former self. In one moment of drunken stupor, Asbrey gambles and loses his ring, a trinket of great importance that represents his past and his future. When the knight wakes up the next morning, he tracks down his wrongdoer, a court jester who lost all his belongings to a gang of brigands. Despite facing an enemy that would have been fatal for him even in his glory days, Westender gains all his remaining power and courage for one last raid with the court jester in tow…
The music for Westender was the first feature-length score of composer Rob Simonsen who had come a long way since writing this Medieval ensemble score. Nowadays Simonsen may be better known for his scores like the coming-of-age romance Management (2008), the real-life inspired murder mystery All Good Things (2010) and his musical contributions to such Mychael Danna projects as Surf’s Up (2007), Moneyball (2011) or the Oscar-winning Life of Pi (2012). Apart from writing the music, Simonsen appears in the film as Glim, the court jester who wronged Asbrey.
The score utilizes several themes to create an epic atmosphere around the wanderings of Asbrey. The main Westender theme is first played by horns and then on the flute and strings in the opening cue ‘Preamble’. The tune is often reprised for Asbrey but is also used for the whole of the movie. There’s also Laytha’s theme which can be first heard in ‘Laytha Visits’ and is later reprised in the first half of ‘Resurrection’. Glim’s theme is introduced in the second half of ‘The Horseman’ with some playful pizzicato strings. Asbrey’s heroic knight theme is first heard in ‘Sir Asbrey of Westender’ – this motive, mostly played on French horns, returns throughout the film to represent the hero’s glory days, its intention is to be more pure and heroic than the main theme. ‘Swift Vengeance’ introduces a theme for the bandit villain Garner, while ‘Jarlishan Fight’ highlights a new piece in 5/4 with some tuned percussion.
The CD comes with a 12-page booklet with commentary by Gergely Hubai featuring a rich selection of quotes from Brock Morse and Rob Simonsen.