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Saturday, January 15, 2022

AVAILABLE NOW - Listen to the Carter Burwell Soundtrack from Joel Coen's "THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH"







NEW YORK, NY – Milan Records announces the release of THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH (SOUNDTRACK FROM THE APPLE ORIGINAL FILM) by award-winning composer CARTER BURWELL. Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Burwell for the Apple Original Film based on the play by William Shakespeare, written for the screen and directed by Joel Coen. The film is the latest in a career-spanning partnership between Burwell and Coen, whose prolific partnership dates back to 1984 and has gone on to include almost every film from the four-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker including Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, True Grit and more.


Speaking of his approach to the score, composer CARTER BURWELL says, “Among the ways one might play Macbeth musically are to let the witches run the show, or make Lady Macbeth a bully, or play Macbeth as a blood-thirsty madman. I did none of these in The Tragedy of Macbeth. The way Joel Coen adapted the play, and the way the actors played it, the Macbeths are human and supportive of each other. Loving even. And culpable. But the music also plays the film as a thriller. A murder sets a mechanism in motion that will unwind with greater pace and greater stakes until the end.”

The soundtrack finds Burwell weaving string-heavy instrumentation with onscreen dialogues performed throughout the film, with vocal contributions by Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand and more featuring on nearly half of the album’s 13 tracks. Burwell’s orchestra of strings further showcase the melodic quality of the Shakespearean dialogue, of which the composer says:

“In any adaptation of Shakespeare, the language is the featured player, and Joel and I often discussed how much or little the music should play during the great monologues. We arrived at the maxim that, in these scenes, the dialogue was the melody and the score its accompaniment. With this in mind I tried to write around and below the words, placing much of the score in the lowest registers – cellos and basses – where it wouldn’t fight the speech. This also accentuates the darkness of a very dark story.”

The score’s ominous tone is punctuated by moments of solo violin Burwell describes as “taking flight out of the darkness.” Eerily alien and slightly off-kilter, these portions reflect a conscious decision by Burwell to find something “rough-hewn like a fiddle, but not a fiddle from any place we know.” Burwell enlisted award-winning violinist Tim Fain to help create a folk-style sound from unknown lands, crediting the musician for his ability to go “off the page” enough to give the compositions character and life. From Shakespearean speeches to simmering, otherworldly textures, Burwell’s score coalesces into a darkly foreboding and propulsive soundscape that ultimately captures the essence of the story as well as its nuances.

Starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth is available now in select theaters from A24 and premieres globally on Apple TV+ today, January 14.



Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star in Joel Coen’s bold and fierce adaptation; a tale of murder, madness, ambition and wrathful cunning.

Apple Original Films presents an A24 and IAC Films production, The Tragedy of Macbeth, based on the play by William Shakespeare and written for the screen and directed by Joel Coen. The film stars Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Harry Melling and Brendan Gleeson. The producers are Joel Coen, Frances McDormand and Robert Graf. The film features casting by Ellen Chenoweth, music by Carter Burwell, costumes by Mary Zophres, editing by Lucian Johnston and Reginald Jaynes, production design by Stefan Dechant and cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel.





1.    Fair Is Foul (feat. Kathryn Hunter)

2.    My Black Desires

3.    Come What Come May (feat. Denzel Washington)

4.    Leave All the Rest to Me (feat. Denzel Washington & Frances McDormand)

5.    Blood Will Have Blood

6.    Is This a Dagger? (feat. Denzel Washington)

7.    Something Wicked This Way Comes

8.    Be Not Found Here

9.    Out Damned Spot (feat. Frances McDormand, Nancy Daly & Jefferson Mays)

10.  Birnam Wood

11.  Come Seeling Night

12.  Tomorrow and Tomorrow (feat. Denzel Washington)

13.  The End of Macbeth



Carter Burwell has composed the music for more than 90 feature films, including Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Rob Roy, Fargo, The Spanish Prisoner, Gods and Monsters, Velvet Goldmine, Three Kings, Being John Malkovich, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (BAFTA Nominee for Film Music), Before Night Falls, A Knight’s Tale, The Rookie, Adaptation., Intolerable Cruelty, No Country for Old Men, In Bruges, Burn After Reading, Twilight, Where the Wild Things Are (Golden Globe Nominee for Best Original Score), A Serious Man, The Blind Side, The Kids Are All Right, True Grit, Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 & 2, Mr. Holmes, Legend, Anomalisa, Hail, Caesar!, The Founder, Missing Link and The Good Liar.

For television, Burwell wrote the music for Apple’s drama series The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crudup and Steve Carell which had it first season premiere on November 1, 2019. The second season of The Morning Show premiered on September 17, 2021. Burwell also wrote the music for the first season of the comedy series Space Force starring Steve Carell which premiered on Netflix on May 29, 2020.

In 2017 Burwell wrote the music for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Burwell received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award nomination for his work for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and won the British Independent Film Award for Best Music on behalf of the film.

In 2015 Burwell wrote the music for the drama Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara directed by Todd Haynes. Burwell received his first Oscar nomination for Best Original Score for Carol, as well as nominations for a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award. Burwell won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Award for Best Music Score for Carol and Anomalisa.

Other recent films include Wonderstruck which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2017 and was Burwell’s fourth collaboration with director Todd Haynes, and the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a six-part Western anthology film for Netflix which marked their 17th project together and premiered in November 2018. His original score for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was named to the 2019 Oscar shortlist.

Burwell also previously worked with Todd Haynes on Velvet Goldmine and HBO’s mini-series Mildred Pierce starring Kate Winslet for which Burwell was nominated for two Emmy Awards, winning in the category of Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score).

His most recent project is the upcoming The Tragedy of Macbeth directed and adapted by Joel Coen starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand which opened in select theatres on December 25, 2021 and will be available to stream on Apple TV+ on January 14, 2022.

His theater work includes the chamber opera The Celestial Alphabet Event and the Mabou Mines productions Mother and Lucia’s Chapters of Coming Forth by Day.

In 2005 he developed a concert work for text and music titled Theater of the New Ear, presented in New York, London and Los Angeles. The text, by Joel and Ethan Coen and Charlie Kaufman, was performed by a dozen actors including Meryl Streep, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hope Davis, Peter Dinklage, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The music was performed by the 8-member Parabola Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Burwell.

Burwell’s dance compositions include the pieces The Return of Lot's Wife, choreographed by Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, and RABL, choreographed by Patrice Regnier. He has performed around the world with his own ensembles as well as others, such as The Harmonic Choir.

His writing includes the essays "Music at Six: Scoring the News Then and Now," published in the inaugural issue of Esopus magazine in 2003 and reprinted in Harper's Magazine in 2004, “No Country For Old Music” in the 2013 Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics, and “How Nino Rota Saved Me from a Subterranean Freakout” in Arcana IX, 2021.

Burwell has taught and lectured at The Sundance Institute, New York University, Columbia University, and Harvard University.

His website is


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