Hildur Gudnadóttir won her first Emmy for this score

This piece of music is called The Door, from the haunting soundtrack of the HBO / Sky UK mini-series, Chernobyl (age rating 15). The five-episode series dramatises the true story of the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union. The mini-series is based in large part on the recollections of Pripyat locals, as told by Svetlana Alexievich in her book Voices from Chernobyl.

The score was composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir (born 1982). Hildur is an Icelandic musician and composer. She has gained international recognition for her film and television scores.

Every sound heard in the Chernobyl score was captured from field recordings at an actual power plant including pumps, reactors and turbines. Hildur describes the process here:

“I recorded the building blocks for the soundtrack with field-recordist Chris Watson and score-producer Sam Slater at the Ignalina Power Plant in Lithuania, a decommissioned nuclear reactor in which the show was filmed. The vastness of the site directly influenced the score: ultimately no classical instruments were used, and instead the recordings were turned into music, where the only traditional instrumental element was my voice, which was subsequently processed using Impulse Responses recorded on the site. The show itself portrays the disaster with respect and realism, and I was adamant the score reflects this. I wanted to show the viewer how it would feel to be there, and to tell this story of fear, loss and, ultimately, human error.”

Hildur Gudnadóttir’s tense, eerie soundtrack plays an integral role in the success of the series.

Hildur Guðnadóttir in 2007
Hildur is also a classically trained cellist, singer and choral music arranger.

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