The music chosen for Provenance is truly stunning and fits the landscape of the South of France perfectly. The background of the pieces, and the composers who wrote them, provide extra layers of meaning, which add to the richness of the themes that the film explores. These choices, made by Christian McKay, were quite deliberate and below you will find some more information about the pieces as well as extracts from the recordings made for the film.
Piano Trio in D Minor - Gabriel Faure
The first movement scores the opening of the film, a beautiful and tender "ménage à trois". The Allegro seamlessly develops and refreshes passionate melodies passed between the three instruments. The trio is no co-incidence as the music alludes to John's romantic relationships - haunted by lost loves. The music is repeated again later in the film and starts to take on a nightmarish quality.
The piece was recorded in London by pianist Ana Šinkovec, violinist Paula Muldoon and cellist Victoria Simonsen.
Beau Soir - Claude Debussy
Set to a text based on a poem by Paul Bourget, Debussy's Beau Soir tells of a 'beautiful evening' where a 'gentle tremor runs over the fields of corn' urging the listener to enjoy "le charme d'etre au monde" ("the charms of the whole world"). For John, a lone pianist playing without his soloist, the flowing piano triplet serves only to underscore his solitude amidst the beauty of an early evening in Entrecasteaux.
The piece was recorded on location and then re-recorded in London by pianist Ana Šinkovec.
Violin Sonata in A Major - Cesar Franck
One of Franck's best known compositions, and a standard for classical violinists, the Sonata in A Major ties together the film's central concert sequence. As John informs us, the Sonata was written as a wedding gift (in 1886 for violinist Eugène Ysaÿe). Cyclical themes weave together throughout the piece as we learn of John's lost love and watch a performance with his wife, strained by the collapse of their marriage.
This recording was made during the filming of the flashback concert sequence by Christian McKay and violinist Chereene Allen.
La Vega - Isaac Albinez
Although he's not a French composer, Albinez was much admired by Debussy and La Vega was completed whilst Albinez was in Paris. The contemplative solo piano heard in the opening stanzas of the work build to a frenzy with full harmony and rolling melodies. It is appropriate that we only hear these opening bars in the film - an intimate moment between John and Sophia that comes before the dramatic dénouement.
Following the composition of La Vega in 1897, Albinez largely abandoned the piano, much like our protagonist, before returning to it in 1905 for his famous "Iberia" suite. The choice of the piece is also a playful nod to the film's lead actress, Charlotte Vega.
The piece you hear was re-recorded in London by Ana Šinkovec.