The Queen’s Gambit has one of the most significant soundtracks in recent memory. Composer Carlos Rafael Rivera’s music is tender and melancholic for the most part. The piano and strings nurse Beth Harmon, a fictional chess prodigy who strives to be the world’s best player in the 1960s. Most background scores reveal the rhythm of the scene or the mood of the characters. But this score reacts to Beth like a companion, as if she were a dazzling silent film in need of a voice. Or a religion in need of context. It’s almost…protective of her. But towards the end of the seven-part miniseries, the score morphs into a “main theme”. This theme triggers the end-credit montage. It’s rousing and playful at once – think the title theme of Catch Me If You Can but sharper – which implies that the superpower is psychological rather than physical. It’s the melody of outwitting, outsmarting, outmanouvering. That’s when it becomes clear: this is the sound of a Superhero origin story.
Carlos Rafael Rivera’s score is probably the only TV music of the year that I can remember other than the music of ‘Stranger Things’— it’s that memorable and hooky.
The score for Godless is really excellent. It’s credited to composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, who previously did the score for another Scott Frank project, the Liam Neeson vehicle A Walk Among the Tombstones.
This is a charming, relatively lightweight concerto, with plenty of attractive melody and color, and its appeal to the Knight Concert Hall audience, which applauded it enthusiastically, is clear.
Working in symphonic tandem with editor Michelle Tesoro, cinematographer Steven Meizler and composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, whose soaring work does more heavy lifting than any TV score this year, Frank approaches each match differently...
Yet, as Frank is a genuinely top screenwriter, the dialogue is choice, and Neeson is compelling as the protagonist, credible and authoritative in a way few Hollywood leading men could ever be. Possibly even better is Carlos Rafael Rivera’s moody score.
Pero de los estrenos, el mas aplaudido fue la Pizzi-Cuban Polka, en la que la famosa obra Pizzicato Polka, de Johan Strauss, con su distintivo pizzicato, cobro vuelos de danzón-salsa a golpe de claves, maracas y tumbadoras.
Yet the most arresting manipulation of voice and sound came in Motet for 12 Singers by Carlos Rafael Rivera. The motet consisted almost exclusively of the five sacred syllables of the Tibetan Buddhists: Bhyo, Hum, Om, Hsi, Kye. Its effects ranged from pitch-bending, drone and glissando to the most percussive elements of speech, in which the singers were in fact not singing at all but were exploding single consonant sounds from those five syllables to create continually diverse sound effects.
The score for the show was composed by Carlos Rafael Rivera and it was pretty f*$#% great.
The packed crowd...responded enthusiastically to the new piece with a long standing ovation. Although only time will tell whether Rivera has done for Miami what Gershwin did for New York and Eric Coates for London, but this is an accessible, highly entertaining new work.
…an explosive percussiveness...
…exposed the nostalgia, sorrow, and hope that characterize music from the folkloric tradition of the Sephardic Jews.