The Witcher – “Dusk of a Northern Kingdom” (Adam Skorupa) (March 22, 2010
I was going through more albums I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet, and came across The Witcher (2007), a game my brother picked up a few years back. I’ve read the novels before but haven’t checked out the game yet. The soundtrack is very atmospheric, primarily minimal and orchestral, but the main theme, “Dusk of a Northern Kingdom” really caught my attention. Composer Adam Skorupa doesn’t seem to have done much outside The Witcher yet, though he has produced some Irish and Celtic music. The track here is in FLAC and so will require a program like Foobar or Winamp on the PC or Cog or VLC on the Mac to play (sorry, Apple refuses to support the most popular lossless compressed audio codec).
There is a wonderful introduction to “Dusk of a Northern Kingdom”, with the enchanting woman’s voice singing; it’s absolutely breathtaking and made me stop what I was doing. When the main theme arises, it is tinged with sadness under the weight of the strings, but also a great sense of beauty and love for the world through the exotic whistle. At the core of the track is the harp, which sounds as if it has been played by the story’s master bard, Dandilion. There is a break in the middle for a tense battle sequence with a monster, but the track resolves itself into the main theme again. Overall, a lovely track to a game that seemed to have gotten a lot of fanfare before its release but then just kind of drifted off after its release.
The Witcher is based on a series of novels and short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski about a man called Geralt of Rivia who is a witcher. Witchers are genetically enhanced people who hunt monsters for money. The game is based on these stories, and both originate from Poland. Sapkowski tents to retell popular fairy tales within the setting of his fantasy world, creating riveting stories. I would recommend The Last Wish as a good introduction and also surprisingly good writing.