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The Man Who Wasn't There (2001 film) [Soundtrack]

Carter Burwell , Ludwig van Beethoven , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Audio CD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Price: $7.44 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 14 Songs, 2001 $9.49  
Audio CD, Soundtrack, 2001 $7.44  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Birdy's "Pathetique" (Opus 13)Soundtrack 1:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K.492 / Act 3 - "Che soave zeffiretto"Edith Mathis 3:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Bringing Doris Home (Piano Sonata, opus 79)Soundtrack 1:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. I Met Doris BlindSoundtrack 1:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Ed Visits DaveSoundtrack 1:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Ed Returns Home (Piano Sonata, Opus 79)Soundtrack 1:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. I Love You Birdy AbundaslSoundtrack0:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Nirdlinger's SwingSoundtrack 5:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. "The Moonlight Sonata" (Opus 27)Soundtrack 2:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. The FightSoundtrack 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. The BankSoundtrack 1:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. "Pathetique Sonata" (Opus 13), Adagio CantabileSoundtrack 5:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. The Trail Of Ed CraneSoundtrack 3:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Beethoven: Piano Trio No.7 in B flat, Op.97 "Archduke" - 3. Andante cantabile, ma però con moto - Poco più adagioBeaux Arts Trio13:28Album Only

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Product Details

  • Performer: Carter Burwell, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Audio CD (October 30, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Decca U.S.
  • ASIN: B00005QK53
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,175 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Twenty years after their accomplished and unsettling first feature film, Blood Simple, the brothers Coen have returned to their film noir roots with an ominous, monochromatic vengeance. As in all their films, music again plays a crucial supporting role and that means the sonic seasonings of career collaborator Carter Burwell, along with a slate of typically obtuse catalog choices. Though that latter music is hardly the sort of smoky urban jazz usually associated with the genre, its mood and composer are as brooding as they come: Ludwig van Beethoven.

New, abridged recordings of LvB's "Pathétique," "Appassionata," and "Moonlight" sonatas and Piano Sonata No. 25 set the tone, along with a Beaux Arts Trio version of Piano Trio No. 7 (and a brief excerpt of Karl Bohm's "Che soave zeffiretto" from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro). Burwell's original music is shaded similarly, subtly different yet equally somber in mood and character. The composer occasionally reprises his compelling, autumnal string writing from The General's Daughter, progressively darkening the atmosphere to great effect here. The urgent '40s romp "Nirdlinger's Swing" offers up the score's only bowing to period conventions, a brief shaft of light flickering among the shadows. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
If you can't seem to find enough merit to this soundtrack to label it impressive or at least concede that it has managed to weave film noir and classical music together in a tapestry of dark, rich, soulful bittersweetness, then you have obviously missed something. Let's not linger too long in thought on it.

Context, folks. Put it in context. Soundtracks are not composed and arranged as stand alone albums, but rather as the rhythm to which a movie is played out. Within the confines of these cinematic constraints, the album manages to wriggle and squirm enough to accomplish what other soundtracks fail to do: it becomes more than background noise, and writes itself into and becomes indispensable to the film.
I am not afraid that I must disagree with whomever contests that expecting only perfection, we are never disapointed. On the contrary, high hopes and high expectations lead mostly to disapointment, as anyone who has expected this much from anything could tell you.

The soundtrack has the flavor of noir, that mysterious, twisted edginess and allure. Burwell's contributions stand out. While acting as critic, please don't make the mistake of comparing this soundtrack to purely classical renderings. To do this would be like comparing great tea and excellent coffee and complaining that tea makes a horrible cup of joe. Classical musicians make their money by interpreting others' pieces and playing them with precision. This is not the case when arranging pieces and composing your own score. Hats off to Burwell.
If you enjoy the novelty of original and compelling music, buy this album now. Conventional classical enthusiasts beware.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carter Burwell does another swell job on this one. August 14, 2002
Format:Audio CD
You might know Burwell best for his score on Fargo but 'The Man Who Wasn't There' is another solid job by one of Hollywood's best composers.
While nearly half of this cd focuses on some songs by Mozart and Beethoven, the score is solid. You will hear the main theme played four different ways on this score but they are all splendid, a melody that is somewhere between the description of relaxing, beautiful, and dark.
Another Burwell cd I highly recommend is Hamlet. Hope you enjoy either of these cd's if you pick them up in the future. I know I have. Enjoy!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My my my, look at all the negative reviews... April 22, 2002
Format:Audio CD
In a perfect world, all soundtracks would contain the scores and diegetic music the screenwriter and/or director intended to be heard in the cinema. In a semi-perfect world, the recordings themselves would a heavenly digital transfer of the original recording sessions. And in an imperfect world, the album would contain all of the sounds and music viewers enjoyed from the film.
After listening to the album, I disagree with the rancor of other reviews of this album. The technical points hold merit, but the distraction is non-existent for the non-audiophile. As a Doors fan, I was initially dissapointed to learn only a handful of the some 30 odd Doors songs in Oliver Stone's film did not make the film soundtrack. "How could they do this!" And after buying "The Bandit Queen"'s soundtrack, I was suprised to find most of the music was a derivative of the actual film score. Do these complaints sound vaguely familiar (see older reviews of The Man Who Wasn't There) Perfection is not found in those albums, nor is it in The Man Who Wasn't There. Yet if one does not go looking for it, one will not be dissapointed, and instead, you are left with an insightful compilation that sets a Film Noir mood to the genre of Classical music. This is not something so readily done with a genre that cut its teeth on Jazz music (See "Romeo's Bleeding"). And the original music composed for the movie is excellent and narcotic. I yearned to listen to those tracks especially, again and again.
Don't compare the album to other music and albums, and you will find a subtle gem that needs only a little bit of polishing to shine through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven and Billy Joel? February 12, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I haven't been able to hear the "audible noises" that the texan reviewer (Ms. Redundancy) seemed so distracted by. The score is great for all the obvious reasons.
I am curious as to whether anyone else unfortunate enough to be familiar with the Billy Joel song (circa 1985) "This Night" from the "Innocent Man" album has noticed that it is a direct and complete rip-off of the Pathetique piece repeated at tracks 1 and 12. Its ridiculous, but it's really plagueing me--I can't listen to it without noticing it.
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Format:Audio CD
I have long been a fan of the Coen Brothers' films, and much of that has to do with the fact they are consistent when working with people. Carter Burwell has composed virtually all the soundtrack scores for their films, and his sound is "Coen" in description: oddly eerie, yet oddly intriguing.
This film is a noir, so the sound of all those classic black and white films is prevalent. Much classical work is intermixed, and done so very well. There is not much original work here from Burwell, but that's not my main contention here--the quality of the recording greatly lacks clarity.
Throughout the solo piano recordings (and there are several), audible noises are very very easily heard. Some noises sound like the fall of a pencil, while others sound like someone opened the door to the recording booth. It is a shame as the music is so beautifully done, but you can't help but be distracted by the noises. It is surprising to catch such obvious goofs as anything associated with the Coens is usually top-notch all the way.
If you can overlook the technical faults, fine, get this recording. You'd probably be better off getting Burwell's scores to Fargo and Barton Fink, sold together as one CD.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection. A Carter/Beethoven duet.
Well, first of all, you've gotta love the Coen Brothers. They don't make formulaic films. The Man Who Wasn't There is all ambiguity and dark subtle humor with a melancholy context. Read more
Published on May 10, 2011 by B. Kelley
4.0 out of 5 stars A good compilation.
The music presented here from "The Man Who Wasn't There" is all quite good. As some have mentioned, there are some technicalities that stick out (some background noises from the... Read more
Published on January 26, 2010 by Stanley Andrew Lubanski
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid score
I thought Burwell's contributions to this score were outstanding, although I agree with the criticisms of the classical recordings - not of the quality we've come to expect. Read more
Published on March 8, 2005 by Karl Marx
2.0 out of 5 stars All the flavor, none of the calories
This album creates an ambience that captures the film noir flavor of the film, yet lacks much of the substance that makes for a great film soundtrack. Read more
Published on May 28, 2002 by G-Dexter
3.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven & Billy Joel - Response to Andy Alabama
Hi Andy,
Also noticed the similarity between This Night and Pathetique. Of course, if you read the liner notes to "An Innocent Man" by Billy Joel, you'll see he... Read more
Published on May 28, 2002 by James M. Emery
3.0 out of 5 stars Technical errors ARE there; good music, though
I have to agree with the other reviewer--you CAN hear noises on the recording, but you have to have the music turned up a little bit louder than I'd normally play it. Read more
Published on March 3, 2002
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