Saturday, September 25, 2010

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole by David Hirschfelder

Australian composer David Hirschfelder was unknown to me until about thirty minutes ago when I was browsing new scores and came across a new release, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole.  The film is based on the book series Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky.  I started listening to the samples on Amazon, which really only teased of what I might expect.  What the hay, I decided, I'll get this one blind.  Right from the get go this score does not in any way suggest that it comes from an animated feature.  The score opens in Flight Home with trumpets, and a cimbalom, backed with choral accompaniment, which builds to a brass fanfare of the film's heroic main theme.  I really quite like the theme, but unfortunately it doesn't make an appearance in the same heroic form, excepting the conclusion of the final track, More Baggy Wrinkles.  Several of the tracks have a brooding and/or suspenseful action tone, such as A Long Way to the Guardians, that would seem to support the movie's description by some as a darker child's fantasy.  In fact, the demeanor of the majority of the score tracks would indicate a more serious, dramatic fantasy, which rarely gets into the realm of Mickey Mouse (perhaps the first part of You Know We're Flying and the quote of Les Toreadors from Bizet's Carmen at the end of Follow the Whales Fin).  Most of the tracks employ choral backing and the finale of My Soldiers My Sons features an exciting choral chant.  If only it lasted longer than twenty seconds.  Legend of the Guardians wont endear quite so quickly as this year's earlier hit, How to Train Your Dragon. The main theme while heroic and memorable is featured far too little on album in contrast to the latter.  The score also features much more dissonance and has a more serious tone throughout.  Even if not as immediately satisfying as How to Train Your Dragon, Hirschfelder has crafted a mature, orchestral animated score, diverse in instrumentation, which excels beyond many other scores in the genre.  Highlights include the score's bookends, Flight Home and More Baggy Wrinkles, The Boy was Right and Into Battle.****

Note: Physical CD purchasing of this title in the U.S. is limited to Borders brick and mortar locations.

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Thanks for sharing!