We premiere exclusive tracks from Ariel Marx’s intriguing, eclectic score to the Holocaust drama.
Ahead of the series finale on May 22nd, The Spool is excited to debut an exclusive three-track sampler from the score to National Geographic’s incredible drama, A Small Light.
The show, which is currently streaming on Disney+ and Hulu, tells the story of Miep Gies (Bel Powley), one of the unsung heroes floating in the periphery of the tragic tale of Anne Frank: While Frank and her family hid in an annex in Amsterdam during the Nazi Occupation during World War II, it was Miep, her husband Jan (Joe Cole), and the bravery of their friends and allies who kept them hidden and alive for so very long. In my review at RogerEbert.com, I described the series as “a glossy but moving tale of resistance and courage, and the risks everyday people take just to hold on to their humanity.”
It’s a small bit vibrant taste of composer Ariel Marx‘s minimal yet dynamic sound, which blends the intimacy of Marx’s love of small string ensembles with the 1930s jazz sounds that were the fashion of the time. Over the course of the series, Marx gives voice to Miep’s bravery and resolve, as well as the humor and lightness that kept her, and the Franks, not only alive but sane during one of the darkest periods of human history.
Breaking away from the traditional period-drama symphonic approaches, Marx uses an intimate ensemble of single strings, woodwind, guitar, and percussion in order to connect people to the story. The detail and rawness of these instruments create a foregrounding for the audience to respond to. The first pieces of music heard are plucky, joyful, and improvisational also depicting a lot of fun in the way instruments are played with a 1930s jazz vibe. Techniques used are minimal and the mixes are exposed to further entice the listener into this historic story.
Say Marx of her score, “In the spirit of the series, the score has a timelessness and honesty to it, as it does not shy away from the rawness and human experience of the war. Amidst the terror, loss, and bravery, there was beauty, joy, and even humor — the score lives in the everyday, both the ordinary and extraordinary.” (You can hear more about the score in an upcoming episode of our composer interview podcast, Right on Cue.)
Listen to the score sampler below, which includes the tracks “A Chicken More Like You,” “A Prayer for Peter,” and “All the Money in Amsterdam.”
A Small Light is currently streaming on Disney+ and Hulu. The series finale airs May 22nd. The score is currently available on digital platforms, courtesy of Hollywood Records.