Walking Out

Music for the film by Alex and Andrew Smith


The brothers Alex and Andrew Smith, screenwriter and director, discovered Ernst Reijseger through his album Cave of Forgotten Dreams and asked him to compose the score for their new movie “Walking Out”. Based on a short story by David Quammen, it narrates the struggle for survival of a father and his son in the wilderness of Montana. The Smith brothers manage to capture the raw beauty of Montana, as well as the terrifying isolation of this place in magnificent images.

As the base for the film score of Walking Out, Reijseger chose a low instrumentation: three cellos, organ, tenor- and bass-recorder and whirly tubes. The piano and higher registers of the cello and recorders were used for the brighter sounds. To finish the film score, Reijseger recorded solo cello at Skywalker Ranch in California.

From the start of the film, the low tones bring immediate depth to the soundtrack. Like the vast Montana wilderness, the music absorbs the listener. Throughout, there is a constant, overwhelming sense of nature’s bounty and threats. The low tones resonate with the relationship of the father and son, and the transition to the adult world the boy must make.

The script of Walking Out required the recording of one particular piece: Dido’s Lament “ When I am Laid in Earth” from the opera Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell.

In a hunter’s hut, the father and son listen to this music and commemorate the boy’s grandmother. Reijseger decided to use this opportunity to create several versions of this beautiful piece.

Track 10 is a version with Erik Bosgraaf on church organ. Track 5 and 15 are versions with the continuo ensemble of baroque orchestra Forma Antiqva, with whom Reijseger collaborated in 2016 on the album The Volcano Symphony.

Most of the collaborating musicians on this album recorded together for other film scores by Reijseger, such as Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Salt & Fire, My Son My Son What Have Ye Done, Family Romance and Nomad, in the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin. This shared experience creates focus and an unspoken trust amongst the musicians.

Each person brings their personal musical qualities to the recording session.

Track 1, 7 and 13 are co-written by cellist Djoeke Klijzing, Reijseger’s partner.

Erik Bosgraaf, one of the world’s leading recorder players, bridges the gap between baroque and contemporary music. He is not only a virtuoso, but he also developed a rich personal palette of sound effects.

The percussion playing of Alan ‘Gunga’ Purves has storytelling qualities.

When Harmen Fraanje plays the piano, a world comes to life. He is a master in playing the necessary with intent. His virtuosity and solistic contribution are a well-dosed blessing.