Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








Editor's Choice

Best of the Month
December 2009


Austin Wintory has received a Sammy Award for
Best Overlooked New Score of 2009





Music Composed and Conducted
by Austin Wintory

24 Tracks (Total Playing Time = 36:58)


Soundtrack Album Produced by Austin Wintory, Amin Matalqa, and Ray Costa.
Execuite Producers for BSX Records: Ford A. Thaxton and Mark Banning.
Orchestrations: Christopher Thomas and Austin Wintory.

Score Performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony. Violin solos: Alyssa Park. Cello solos: Steve Erdody. French Horn solos: Brian O'Connor. Oboe solos: Tom Boyd and Leslie Reed. Flute solos: Heather Clark. Harp solos: Katie Kirkpatrick. Viola solos: David Walther. Vocal solo and lyrics: Lisbeth Scott.

Score Engineered and Mixed by Damon Tedesco. Digitally Edited and Mastered by James Nelson. CD Art Direction: Mark Banning.

Score Recorded at Warner Brothers, Clint Eastwood Scoring Stage.

This CD is limited to 1,000 units.

BSX Records BSXCD 8858

Rating: ****


1. Prologue - 0:32
2. Tea With Um Raed - 2:09
3. Finding The Hat - 0:55
4. Meet Captain Abu Raed - 1:00
5. The Storyteller - 1:56
6. More Stories - 1:29
7. Lost Bag - 0:13
8. The Two Captains - 1:56
9. Amman - 0:54
10. Dreams Of Flight - 0:36
11. Airport Revelation - 2:06
12. Abu Murad - 0:41
13. Candy Men - 0:23
14. Forgiveness - 0:45
15. Tea With Nour -2:30
16. New Morning - 1:51
17. Rite Of Passage - 1:21
18. Tareq's Farewell - 0:58
19. Temptation - 2:44
20. Escape - 1:59
21. Goodbye - 3:10
22. A New Beginning - 0:59
23. Epilogue - 1:27
24. In The Fog (End Titles) - 3:36 (Vocal solo by Lisbeth Scott)


When I reviewed a promo copy of the film and soundtrack earlier this year, I was quite impressed with the moving story of the film and also Austin Wintory's sensitive score. Now I am pleased to see that the soundtrack has been released by BSX so others can enjoy this score.

Quoting what I wrote in the earlier review:

This is a simple story of ordinary people having their lives intersect and is told with great warmth and understanding, with a surprise ending that is gentle and caring rather than violent and repellent.

The writer-director Amin Matalqa began his career in telecommunications in Ohio. Then he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being a filmmaker. He was inspired and influenced by a number of diverse and respected film directors, including: Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Steven Spielberg, Akira Kurosawa, and others. Matalqa was also inspired by film composers such as: Jerry Goldsmith, James Newton Howard, Michael Kamen, Basil Poledouris, Howard Shore, John Williams and more. So the director's choice for the composer was undoubtedly treated with more attention than usual. His choice of Austin Wintory was a very apt one.

The score begins with a short Prologue by solo oboe and that leads into the next track, "Tea With Um Raed," and continues the oboe solo after the introduction by a contemplative harp solo. This is beautiful music, subtle and soothing, not overly sentimental.

The main character of this Jordanian film, beautifully played by Nadim Sawalha, is introduced on "Meet Captain Abu Raed,"and "The Storyteller."

Much of this score features a variety of excellent soloists, such as the harp solo by Katie Kirkpatrick on "The Two Captains," and the flute solo by Heather Clark on "Tea With Nour." One of the tenderest and most moving cues is track 21 ("Goodbye") with a lovely mix of strings.

This score is like an enjoyable chamber music concert, full of subtle moods and colors, sensitively handled by the composer conducting the Hollywood Studio Symphony, and all the musicians are listed in the CD booklet -- Bravo for that!

In the CD booklet notes, the film's director Amin Matalqa tells of his love of film scores and composers, especially Michael Kamen and Basil Poledouris (this CD is dedicated to them both). He is highly complimentary of his composer Austin Wintory, writing that he "captured the soul of the man and the film with both intimacy and epic sweep . His music here speaks to the wisdom of a lonely old man, the innocence of childhood, the excitement of storytelling, and the darkness lurking behind a door."

The End Titles track ("In The Fog"), features lyrics and is performed by the remarkable voice of Lisbeth Scott, though it would have been helpful to have her words printed in the booklet, since they are difficult to understand. This is a very moving finale and brings this wonderful score to a satisfying conclusion.

Austin Wintory is a most promising film composer whose music is well worth listening to and savoring. Hopefully he will continue to receive worthwhile assignments like CAPTAIN ABU RAED.

By all means check out this excellent film score and the wonderful film too.

Both are exceptional examples of quality creative work and both deserve your support.

-- Roger Hall, 30 December 2009

For more information, see

BSX Records

Austin Wintory Website

Also Highly Recommended...

an earlier CD of enjoyable music composed and orchestrated by Austin Wintory:


Spirit of the Cosmos

Spirit of the Cosmos





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