Glasgow Film Festival music review: Lucky Star, Mackintosh Queens Cross

The choices of composer Ela Orleans were intriguing. Picture: contributed
The choices of composer Ela Orleans were intriguing. Picture: contributed
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The latest live soundtrack experience of the Glasgow Film Festival blended three seemingly disparate elements.

Lucky Star | Rating: **** | Mackintosh Queens Cross

The beautiful but still rather austere Mackintosh-designed Queens Cross Church, a silent romantic melodrama about simple country folks finding love after the Great War, and the bewitching electronic chamber pop of Glasgow-based composer Ela Orleans – which came together handsomely to create something charming and, in the end, poignant.

Orleans scored the fairytale farmscape not with pastoral strings but sonorous piano, cascading lines, ambient birdsong and, at one point, more urgent cawing in surround sound, as well as entirely unexpected harpsichord effects, synthesized pizzicato strings and the occasional scrape of live violin.

Her choices were never obvious but always intriguing. When the action shifted to the First World War, she eschewed the sonic sturm und drang and martial rhythms which usually accompany war images in favour of foreboding, dissonant, impressionistic sounds akin to exploding shells.

Orleans used her ethereal voice sparingly but effectively, creating a gentle rapture, yet avoided sentimentality as the disarming screen double act of Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell started to cement their caring relationship in touching scenes of basic hygiene rituals. Instead, she introduced the occasional cacophonous burst to signify the growing sexual tension and then an undercurrent of unease as their love is threatened by a third party.