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Das Boot (Musik zum Film)

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Album Review

It was a good thing Klaus Doldinger was offered this opportunity: to write a score for a German film utilizing all the various forms of his musical training. His groundbreaking jazz-rock fusion band Passport had become mired in the muck of schlocky feel-good instrumentals that didn't even register with his most ardent fans anymore, and he had lost his music direction. Enter director Wolfgang Peterson who was a Doldinger fan and recruited him to write a score for his WWII epoch about the war in the ocean. Doldinger apparently felt it was a gift from the heavens because he put everything he'd forgotten into creating a soundtrack that was every bit as fine a piece of work as the film it accompanied. Utilizing a few key players, such as Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennermann, and Jurgen Prochnow, old mates from the fuzak days, Doldinger fashioned a score that felt more like a symphony than a soundtrack. In his episodic moments where merely incidental music was called for, Doldinger composed mini-epochs of motion and emotion. His subtle yet profound use of synthesizers as well as a symphony orchestra and the classical guitar created an atmosphere that made the footage under the sea tense and suffocating, full of the kind of adrenaline-pumping wonder Peterson's narrative called for. In the more driven parts of the score where battle is to be engaged, Doldinger offers simultaneous portraits of horror and grandeur as his strings become the pulse of approaching death and his horns and synths become the courageous, fearless, steely eyed gaze into its face. There are no moments of filler on this soundtrack, made longer by the fact that it now accompanies Peterson's director's cut issued in 1998. Make no mistake, Das Boot is high cinematic art, but Doldinger's score, while it is inseparable from the film's narrative, is a stunning and moving work of art on its own.


Born: 12 May 1936 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Klaus Doldinger, best-known for leading the excellent fusion group Passport in the 1970s and '80s, has had a diverse and episodic career. He started out studying piano in 1947 and clarinet five years later, playing in Dixieland bands in the 1950s. By 1961, he had become a modern tenor saxophonist, working with such top visiting and expatriate Americans as Don Ellis, Johnny Griffin, Benny Bailey, Idrees Sulieman, Donald Byrd, and Kenny Clarke, recording as a leader for Philips, World Pacific, and...
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Das Boot (Musik zum Film), Klaus Doldinger
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