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Forbearance by Giovanni Rotondo

Giovanni Rotondo: Forbearance - film score album cover Though she trained as an actor, Lana Read's career has been primarily as a director, with some experience of writing and casting. With "Forbearance" she is listed as Director, Casting Director and co-Producer. The movie Forbearance is about a couple who try to save their marriage following the husband's terminal cancer diagnosis. The film's composer is Giovanni Rotondo who we have mentioned before on mfiles, including his earlier score to the movie Orphans and Kingdoms. Given the movie's title and plot description, it is no surprise to discover that the "Forbearance" score is suitably sombre in tone, with a focus on the dramatic aspects of the couple's relationship. The score's instrumentation is largely orchestral with piano, but there are some surprises to discover. Here is the movie trailer which features some of the score music:

The opening title track is completely minimalist with a few piano notes accompanied by tremolo string chords. Although I've not analysed it, if feels like these notes and chords play an ongoing role in the score. This track gives way to "Broken" which starts with some simple broken chords on what could be a harpsichord or some kind of electric piano before this is superceded by a piano. The melody at this slow tempo is thoughtful and melancholy. "Stasis" has a sad piano melody and chords, again very minimalist. "Jojo" seems to start off innocently enough before the melody becomes electronically modified with a distorting diffuse echo-like effect and some strings tentatively join in. "I Am Losing You" is a melody for a downbeat almost lethargic piano and sustained strings chords.

"Lies" is a short track with some unsettling ambient sounds. "Bad News" starts with a repeated note on piano, which is picked up and augmented by strings and some minimal notes and chords play near this centre of gravity. A simple ostinato pattern makes the track busier and it evolves further becoming less minimal as the volume increases, but the repeated note brings things back down despite a last-minute flourish from the busier pattern. "One Week" kicks off with a few piano chords, before breaking out with an arpeggiated folk-like melody on piano. You can hear some of this track on the trailer above. "Destiny" returns to the layered percussive keyboard sound of "Broken", the non-traditional sounding instrument giving a strange dreamy vibe. "Friends" starts with an electric guitar, which gives way to an acoustic guitar with string support, and then cycling through other instrumentation combinations building with a touch of hope before returning to opening electric guitar. This feels like the score's main melody. It has been lurking within the chords so far, but only now manages to express itself openly.

Although only 3 tracks now remain on the album, the next two tracks take up a significant part of the overall play time at five and seven and a half minutes respectively. "The Message" consists largely of sustained string chords which build in intensity. "Struggle" rounds off much of the album by revisiting previous tracks including the electronic melody of "Jojo" and the repeated note and ostinatos of "Bad News" before eventually returning to the folk-like arpeggios of "One Week". The thematic recap feels like it is referring to and trying to resolve earlier issues, or perhaps this serves a similar purpose to the dramatic resolution of a film's end credits. The final track "Hard to Say" has some low-key notes and ambience, similar to the earlier "Lies" before a darker interlude leads us back to a comfortable home as the electric guitar and piano share the main melody of "Friends".

In some ways the score is monochrome with its limited soundset, reflecting the narrow focus of the drama. However the composer adds interest for listeners with the eletronic effects and ambient sounds. Although the plot deals with some difficult topics the score feels like it serves the movie with appropriate sensitivity, and there is a definite feeling of the music and characters going on a difficult journey. This is another finely pitched score from Giovanni Rotondo, and I'm sure we will continue to hear more from the composer as his career continues to develop. The album is available to stream or download from the main music streaming services at this link Giovanni Rotondo: Forbearance.

Reviewer: Jim Paterson

Giovanni Rotondo: Forbearance - Track Listing

    Giovanni Rotondo
  • Forbearance (0:56)
  • Broken (2:06)
  • Statis (1:02)
  • Jojo (1:59)
  • I Am Losing You (3:35)
  • Lies (0:56)
  • Bad News (4:37)
  • One Week (1:23)
  • Destiny (2:35)
  • Friends (2:09)
  • The Message (5:00)
  • Struggle (7:28)
  • Hard to Say (2:41)