You may not have heard of Clint Mansell, but there’s a good chance you’ll have heard his work. Formerly the frontman for Grebo alt-rockers Pop Will Eat Itself, Mansell found further acclaim composing film scores.
His many credits include Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, High-Rise and Filth. Accompanied by his touring band, Mansell brought highlights of his composing work to Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.
A sombre Mansell took to the stage to explain why he had cancelled a previously scheduled appearance in 2014. He fought back tears as he discussed how his girlfriend had tragically passed away and thanked the audience for their continued support. The band opened with ‘In the Beginning, There Was Nothing’ from Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. The wonderful acoustics of the Concert Hall were the perfect accompaniment to the thundering intensity that bellowed from the stage. Mansell’s classical influences mixed beautifully with his industrial background as he showcased music from Pi as Eric Gardner’s blistering snare pierced the crowd while Clint Walsh’s bass rumbled.
Mansell himself is an amiable figure. He spoke to the audience with a gentle tone and thick Brummie accent, telling humorous tales about meeting Madonna and hanging out with Hubert Selby, JR. He introduced each section of the performance by film title, playing a selection of tracks from each score.
There is an undeniable commercial appeal to some of his music, most notably from Moon, with an infectious two note piano theme. As he introduced Requiem for a Dream it was time to hear what is arguably his most famous piece. The menacing strings of the Sonus Quartet eviscerated any calm that remained before they slowed down to allow the unmistakable melody of ‘Lux Aeterna’ to gently build. A large screen played various images to accompany the music but it was difficult to look away from the stage as Mansell had us hooked and wasn’t letting go.
Music from Black Swan followed as Mansell promised “some real fucking music.” As Mark Fonte’s ominous guitar slowly faded the pleasing talents of The Sonus Quartet and Carly Paradis’ Piano where highlighted as they played Mansell’s interpretation of Swan Lake. It was exquisitely alluring while never betraying its dark undertones.
The show closed out with music from The Fountain, ending with the gorgeous ‘Death is the Road to Awe’. The sensational noise that poured from the stage bathed the Concert Hall in a delightful ambience that helped restore tranquillity before the house lights came on. A standing ovation wasn’t enough to tempt Mansell back on stage but no one left disappointed. A truly intense experience.