Duo Darren Aronofsky and Clint Mansell score on pointes

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The Independent Culture

Director Darren Aronofsky and Clint Mansell, his composer of choice, go hand in hand. Mansell has scored the director's latest, Black Swan, which uses arrangements from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. The working relationship goes back to 1996, when the director asked Mansell, then wrapping up his role as frontman in the punk-pop band Pop Will Eat Itself, to score his first film, Pi. It was Mansell's first film composition, and since he has penned the music to almost every Aronofsky film. Perhaps his most famous soundtrack is Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, its haunting and urgent string-fuelled music combining his electronic beginnings with orchestration.

His music for Black Swan was a rather different project, as he set out to build the entire score out of elements from Swan Lake. "How do you expose something new and exhilarating – born out of the original work – that can then support and enhance a totally new story that also has its roots in the original?" Mansell maintains.

The resulting soundtrack does just that: it enhances the psychological impact of the story, heightening the sense of unnerve throughout. Though I must admit the music was so seamlessly interwoven with the film itself, that often it was barely noticeable. It is in the final ballet scenes, in which Mansell manipulates an extract from Swan Lake that the music most comes to the fore, building up dramatically to the heady climax. It keeps the story fresh and exciting.

The original motion picture soundtrack to 'Black Swan' is out now on Sony