ElergyDirected by Isabel Coixet (The Secret Life of Words), Elegy is the passionate story of a love affair between a college professor and a beautiful young woman. This is obviously a simplification of the plot, but we’re here to talk about the soundtrack not the film. And while the film itself is receiving slightly mixed reviews (more good than bad), the soundtrack deserves unequivocal praise for daring to be one of the most urbane and sophisticated soundtracks in recent memory. Made up almost entirely of carefully played classical music (a few of which are actually public domain), this album plays out more like a score than a soundtrack… and that’s a good thing.

Though most of the album is wordless, a few of the tracks feature lyrics. The jazzy “Dance Me to the End of Love” (a Leonard Cohen song here performed by acclaimed French-American singer Madeleine Peyroux, from her 2004 album Careless Love) is beautifully engaging, the scratchily endearing “Loneliness Ends With Love” (written and performed by Al Lerner, with vocals by Margaret Whiting) and “Ay Que Sospecha Tengo” (performed by Rita Montaner & Alvarino y Echegoyen) draw you in with their dated quality, and the catchy lyrics thrown out by Gecko Turner in the reggae and bass-driven “45,000$ (Guapa Pasea)” help make that song the best on the album. 

As for the instrumental work that makes up the backbone of the album, it’s just as enjoyable. There are quick, peacefully melodious tracks like “Dejame Recorder” (performed by Marc Artis Garcia) and lengthy jazz riffs like Chet Baker’s “Early Morning Mood” as well as a generous helping of Bach, Beethoven and Satie (all performed by pianists Kirill Bolshakov or David Troy Francis). There’s also the heartbreakingly melancholy “Les Ondes Silencieuses” (performed by Coleen), that is both intense and slightly unconventional. And unlike score music the rest of these tracks weren’t created for specific scenes in the film, but rather were chosen by the director and music supervisor to enhance the film.  It’s an impressive soundtrack and one that is unlikely to go out of style any time soon.

Zach’s Rating: A- (the minus is for using so many public domain tracks)
Perfect For: Sitting around the house with a glass of wine
Stay Away if: You’re not looking for classical when you buy a soundtrack
Buy this on Itunes: “45,000$ (Guapa Pasea)” by Gecko Turner

To purchase the soundtrack for Elegy, visit Amazon

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