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The Master (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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iTunes Review

Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood provided the music for Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, and he's reprising his role for Anderson's 2012 film The Master. The time is the postwar, pre–rock 'n' roll era of the '50s. Ella Fitzgerald, Madisen Beaty, Jo Stafford, and Helen Forrest songs weave into a mix of orchestral instrumentals that flow like a dream sequence where emotions are heightened but difficult to fully parse. Strings, woodwinds, and harps float in and out of view, with Greenwood preferring spare spaces over grand orchestras. "Alethia" is arguably the album's finest piece. However, when experiencing film music, it's best not to pull toward an individual piece but to let the entire experience act as one long composition.

Customer Reviews


Jonny Greenwood is one of the most interesting and welcome voices to come to film music in recent years. I refreshed my memory about how good his music was in There Will Be Blood, and I was very impressed by his score to The Master. I was very much looking forward to acquiring this album. But unfortunately, the presentation of the music looks to be a mess. With a mix of songs, source music, and even the spoken soundtrack from the film on top of the score, this is a very unappealing presentation for a film music aficionado. It's 2012, and professional film music labels have spent the last decade or so modeling how to properly present a film score on an album for the few of us who want to spend our money on such a thing. If I wanted to hear the film soundtrack as presented in the movie, I'd just go and watch the movie again. This is sadly an amateurish production on which I have no interest in wasting my own limited funds.

Not for casual listening

Greenwood's score for "the Master" is brilliant, but many tracks are quite dissonant. If you're looking for a traditional sounding score, (nothing wrong with that) stick with the usual; Newman, Zimmer, etc. But if you're willing to forego pleasing sounds and want to hear something quite unusual and interesting then this is definitely worth a buy. I took off a star not because of the strangeness of the music. It would have gotten five stars if not for the really annoying choice of playing a sound clip of Phoenix's character talking from the movie over Greenwood's music. This has almost never worked for a soundtrack and it confounds me that producers still do this.


My inner theten was pleased with this soundtrack. Jonny Greenwood just keeps getting better and better.


Born: November 5, 1971 in Oxford, England

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Best known as Radiohead's innovative jack of all trades -- a multi-instrumentalist equally comfortable playing guitar, xylophone, sampler, or keyboards -- Jonny Greenwood also pursued a solo career as a composer while helping his band push the boundaries of its music into unusual and decidedly non-rock directions. Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood was born on November 5, 1971, in Oxford, England. Along with his brother Colin, Greenwood attended Abingdon School near Oxford; it was here that the older...
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