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Thursday, February 22, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Librarian

The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines
Music by Joseph LoDuca
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1054 (USA)
Disc 1 - 25 Tracks 55:21 mins Disc 2 - 19 Tracks 47:09 mins

Fairly recently, La-La Land Records released Joseph LoDuca's music for the TV mini-series Triangle, but this was not the composer's first effort for the producers of that entertainment. Prior to that he had written the score for the TNT film The Librarian: Quest For The Spear, which introduced audiences to Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle), a brilliant student kicked out of school by his professor, who believes he needs life experience. Accepting a job at the Metropolitan Public Library, Carsen finds himself protector of some of the greatest treasures in history, secretly housed in the library. When the one part of the Spear of destiny is stolen, he finds himself on a mission to track down the other two before they fall into the villains hands and disaster ensues.
This score is featured on the second disc of this 1500 copy limited edition release and introduces the adventurous main theme that is to receive a western-styled overhaul in the sequel Return To King Solomon's Mines, featured on Disc 1. Here it is introduced more in the Raiders of the Lost Ark march mode, but does receive adventrous flourishes throughout the score. In creating the score, LoDuca, as with his popular scores for the Hercules and Xena TV series, utilised orchestra, choir and electronics. I'm biased, but I find the orchestral tracks more satisfying, largely because I cannot abide electronics substituting for brass, and unfortunately LoDuca does that here at times, but even moreso in the King Solomon score. In addition to the main theme, there is a noble, heroic offshoot that features from time to time, never better than in "Flynn Prevails/Portrait," where it becomes quite elegiac. There is also a love theme, which is used sparingly, but is at its most beautiful in the shimmering "Butterflies" and flute-lead nocturne "Starry Night." The mystical elements of the story get some impressive and powerful choral treatments and there's a deal of menace, some ethnic-styled, as well as local colouring and scene setting. The one black mark (save for the electronic brass) is the apparent curse of the temp track in "Chick Fight," an electric guitar-driven piece which sails mighty close to the fabulous "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" utilised to popular effect in Kill Bill Vol.1.
LoDuca's music for Return to King Solomon's Mines, in which Carsen goes in search of the fabled mines, is basically more of the same, though, as previously mentioned, the main theme, immediately introduced in the score's "Main Title," receives a rousing, western-styled treatment in the finest Bernstein/Goldsmith traditions. "On Horses" and "The Package" see it further utilised amongst the action; whilst "Fencing" introduces a pompous march and comic variations. The composer provides the usual ethnic scene setting, with chorals and jungle rhythms and again there are some powerful, mystical moments with choir. Brief romantic interludes appear amongst all this, and the final handful of tracks go through all kinds of moods before the main theme returns to wrap things up over the "End Credits." As said before, although this score starts out predominantly orchestral, gradually the electronics become more prominent. Whether this was an artistic choice, or whether budgetry, I know not, but it does somewhat spoil my enjoyment of the score.
Accompanying the discs is an attractive and informative 12-page booklet, with plenty of colour stills from the films, plus notes by both composer and Executive ProducerDean Devlin, as well as plot synposes.


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