IN TREATMENT (SEASON ONE & TWO) – Richard Marvin


Original Review by Alan Rogers (First uploaded at maintitles.net)

In Treatment is an award-winning TV show that follows psychoanalyst Paul Weston (played by Gabriel Byrne, who won a Golden Globe for his role) as he treats a variety of patients. Based very closely on a successful Israeli series, we follow the progress of the patients’ treatments by Weston over a series of weeks as well as following the sessions he has with his own therapist (played by Dianne Weston) at the end of the week. The shows producers, HBO, has a reputation for being a channel that offers distinct programming that pushes the boundaries and in this case, each patient has their own specific day filling the half-hour show in more-or-less real time and each patients’ story is followed on the same day each week over the period of their therapy.

The episodic nature of the show, together with the heavy reliance on real-time story-telling (which makes the show feel like a fly-on-the-wall documentary) meant that any composer on such a project would be presented with a scoring challenge. The show’s creators turned to veteran TV composer Richard Marvin. Richard Marvin is probably best known for his enjoyable and thematic score for the Jonathan Mostow-directed submarine movie, U-571 (released in 2009). After a fairly lean time scoring for features Mostow hired the composer again nine years later to score the recent science fiction action thriller Surrogates. In the intervening time between features Marvin has been kept busy scoring television projects including The O.C., Six Feet Under and Without A Trace.

The score as heard in this release comprises of twenty relatively brief tracks (only a handful of tracks break the 2-minute mark) that play as self-contained little vignettes. As such the tracks don’t really feel very much connected with one another and in this sense mirrors the episodic nature of the show. Although the composer is quoted as saying that specific themes for each character were composed and developed as the series progressed (particularly in Season One), this doesn’t really come across during listening. Especially as the tracks are jumbled together for – I assume – a better listening experience. The track titles take the form of “patient name – session week number – season number” suggestive almost of a patient records filing system. These track titles does make it easy to group all the same patient’s tracks together (and in chronological order if the inclination takes the listener) but even doing this doesn’t make it any easier noticing any themes. Anyone looking for grand themes, with thematic development as the score progresses will be disappointed. This may be explained by how the music is used in the show: each episode is very sparsely scored, with ninety-nine percent of the score being featured at the conclusion of the drama, almost signposting the “take away” emotion for the preceding unfolding issues before seguing to the end credits. Not much opportunity for thematic development.

The score itself, released by Lakeshore Records as a digital-only release, is orchestrated for a small ensemble, particularly keyboards, with the occasional splash of acoustic and electric guitars added in places for added colour. There’s also a wash of electronics underscoring many of the tracks. The predominant soundscape that I came away with was the hesitant piano chords very reminiscent of Thomas Newman. This is combined (sometimes in the same track presumably when the credits appear onscreen) with more upbeat bass line rhythms which can be an awkward transition. I would certainly recommend this anyone who wants to have something pleasant on in the background that doesn’t need too much concentration.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  1. Walter – Week 4 – Season 2 (1:25)
  2. Sophie (Theme) – Week 2 – Season 1 (2:08)
  3. Oliver – Week 1 – Season 2 (2:31)
  4. Jake & Amy (Theme) – Week 1 – Season 1 (1:27)
  5. Laura – Week 3 – Season 1 (1:56)
  6. Oliver – Week 2 – Season 2 (1:39)
  7. Gina – Week 1 – Season 1 (1:46)
  8. Gina – Week 6 – Season 2 (2:39)
  9. Mia – Week 6 – Season 2 (1:53)
  10. Laura – Week 5 – Season 1 (1:25)
  11. April – Week 2 – Season 2 (2:00)
  12. Gina – Week 3 – Season 2 (1:46)
  13. Oliver – Week 4 – Season 2 (2:28)
  14. Mia – Week 1 – Season 2 (1:56)
  15. Oliver – Week 4 – Season 2 (2:41)
  16. Gina – Week 6 – Season 1 (2:00)
  17. Gina – Week 5 – Season 2 (1:25)
  18. Paul Follows Laura – Week 9 – Season 1 (1:18)
  19. Gina – Week 1 – Season 2 (1:59)
  20. Oliver – Week 2 – Season 2 (2:44)

Running Time: 39:16

Lakeshore Records (2011)

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