Deutsche Grammophon’s groundbreaking concept album for Todd Field’s critically acclaimed new film TÁR captures the process of music-making that lies at the heart of the film. The soundtrack features a series of stunning new works by Hildur Guðnadóttir, recorded with the London Contemporary Orchestra and conductor Robert Ames, as well as extracts from the Elgar Cello Concerto, with soloist Sophie Kauer and the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Natalie Murray Beale, and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, with Cate Blanchett at the helm of the Dresdner Philharmonie. Field’s video for one of Guðnadóttir’s new tracks, “Mortar” has now premiered and you can watch it below.
Directed, written and produced by three-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Todd Field, and starring two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, TÁR tells the story of composer-conductor Lydia Tár and examines the changing nature of power, its impact and durability in our modern world. DG artist and Oscar and two-time Grammy winner Hildur Guðnadóttir worked closely with Field in a wide-ranging musical role, which included writing the score on which we see Tár working (“For Petra”) and creating a soundtrack that would evoke a world separate from the music processes central to the film’s narrative.
Representing the psychological aspect of the story, and the protagonist’s troubled state of mind, Guðnadóttir’s score has an unsettling, almost unearthly feel. Its purpose, says the composer, “is to be otherworldly and to be this kind of invisible thing that seeps into your unconscious.” One of the tracks that helps build this disquieting atmosphere is “Mortar”, featuring the composer herself on cello. Todd Field has made a standalone video for the piece in which Guðnadóttir and the cast of TÁR all appear, their distorted images again mirroring Lydia Tár’s disintegrating world.
“The idea was born from conversations with Cate Blanchett,” the director explains of “Mortar.” “This piece of film was conceived as an in-between place for the main character to fall into herself. A place where the natural laws of her waking state do not apply. The shooting process involved all cast members, and was photographed at the end of each day during principal photography in Berlin and South East Asia in 2021. In September 2022 Hildur and I met again in Berlin where she stepped back into this place and bound herself to the other players.”
Focus Features released TÁR in the US last month to widespread critical acclaim, with international release dates to follow in early 2023. Deutsche Grammophon’s concept album, available now on CD and digitally, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Albums Chart. A vinyl edition will be issued on 20 January 2023.