Get the 6-minute long final cue from Revenge #410 "Atonement", FREE for a limited time!
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Read below for an exclusive commentary by Revenge composer Fil Eisler on his songwriting process for this very special piece of music.
BIG SPOILER ALERT!!!! IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN REVENGE EPISODE #410 "Atonement", DO NOT READ THIS!!
The Prince Is Gone
When I sat down to spot this episode (that is when we collectively decide where the music is going to go in the film) with the writer and producers, the thing that stuck with us was that the entire final act was going to have to be one long piece of music. It was going to have to encompass a number of different twists and turns but the most important aspect of it was that we had to be absolutely devastated by Daniel's death at the end. There's nothing more fun for a composer than having the opportunity to make the audience cry :)
My favorite episodes to score on this show have always been those where I had the opportunity to build some kind of inner theme just within that hour (214 was similar, with the SOS theme and the death of Fauxmanda at the end). This time the theme had to be Daniel's. Instead of something typically Revengey and bombastic, it made sense to play on his inner turmoil as he headed to the decision to regain control of his life, which of course is what makes the end of this episode so beautifully tragic. The quiet harp theme which plays in the scenes where Daniel reads his letter to his father ties together almost every scene between him, Margaux and his parents and it's the same theme we hear during the final reading of the letter as he's slipping away.
Scoring and recording fight scenes is always a challenge. There are endless points that have to be musically addressed to keep the tension going and give the whole thing pace. We go from the pounding violence of the fight with the strings hacking away to suddenly slamming the brakes on. As soon as Daniel is shot, we hear the familiar Revenge theme lead us into Daniel's own theme that has been building throughout the episode. My favorite moment after all that bombast, is Daniel and Emily's piano theme at the very end, a theme which we first heard way back in episode 2 or 3 at the start of the series and signals the final connection between them, before the orchestra rejoins us for the big finale.
By far the best part of doing a cue like this is standing in front of fifty of the finest musicians in LA on the Newman Stage at Fox, hearing them play the living daylights out of it, and that's the most important part of all of this - what you're listening to isn't a synth, a mockup or a demo. It's a real orchestra playing the huge range of emotion that a piece of music like this requires to really work. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did writing and recording it.
Cheers Danny boy, it's been a ride.