Mihail Doman and the Rise of Film-free Soundtracks

It doesn’t seem so long ago since solo piano was the new Flying V electric guitar: Michael Nyman’s score to The Piano was, perhaps, the catalyst upon which the likes of Ludovico Einaudi swiftly pounced. In turn, quiet was the new loud, contemporary classical composers like Arvo Part relishing the opportunity to whisper sweet somethings to a staggeringly huge audience who, it turns out, had turned from baby boomer to baby shushers.

Cut forward twenty-odd years and one of the safest bets to fill out expansive arenas isn’t some spotty Spotifyer but Going for Gold theme-tune author and scorer to some of the biggest films of the last decade, Hans Zimmer. What on Earth happened?

You’ll be delighted to hear, I have no idea. Yet, the revolution shall neither be televised nor broadcast through loud PA’s. Mihail Doman is one of the second wave of solemn tinklers who thrives on people hearing every note and insisting they sit quietly and listen to it properly. Alongside Zimmer, Doman cites Jean-Michel Jarre as an influence. This is interesting, as in many ways, Jarre is the missing link – the electronic keyboard pioneer is, of course, the son of Maurice Jarre, whose lush, atmospheric score appeared alongside cinematic tent-poles such as Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. The lineage is clear to see, and it is cinema which is the proud parent. Huge cinematic vistas for the listener to create their own mental pictures.

This is indeed what Romanian, Doman, supplies – lush piano-led meditations with electronic washes of atmosphere, romantic and thought-provoking, without being too overly-slushy. Designed to be listened to in one-sitting (that this has to be pointed out is everything that is wrong with the listening public), Arhythmology, the series of suites constructed by Mihail, is modern classical music at its best. Constructed sparsely enough that it isn’t impenetrable to those downright scared of classical music, Arhthymology is a modern classic in all senses

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