Pinar Toprak: Captain Marvel Theme
Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak has composed a number of soundtracks for film, television and video games. She has been the recipient of two International Film Music Critic Association Awards as well as receiving numerous nominations for other works. Soundtracks include The Lightkeepers (2009), The Wind Gods (2013) and Captain Marvel (2019).
For Captain Marvel, Toprak became the official composer in 2018, making her the first ever woman to compose a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. She started creating the title film first, before then establishing the other themes. Toprak commended that she wanted Captain Marvel’s Theme to be “recognisable from its first two notes”.
The Captain Marvel Theme starts with drive and determination with a low rumble from the orchestra. As expected, the first theme to come through the dense texture is strong, bold and heroic in style. The thundering lower brass and percussion support the horn and trumpet solo feature lines.
The lyrical string section opposes the aggressive brass and adds light and shade to the score. The sonorous middle shows the orchestra unite before electronic sounds start to emerge from within. The slow moving brass theme is then played at the same time as the lyrical string melody, which intertwines the two main themes superbly.
The ebb and flow of the electronic sounds add a unique timbre to the orchestra, making it exciting to pick out certain sounds. Bold syncopated rhythms lead to a triumphant fanfare before the basses close the theme ominously.
Pinar Toprak’s Captain Marvel Theme is heroic, bold and powerful in its delivery from across the orchestra. Her rich orchestrations allow the melodies to soar and the driving bass figures amply support them. Her use of brass and percussion in particular adds to the epic atmosphere of the theme. This opening theme sets the scene for the dynamic story to come.
Ⓒ Alex Burns