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Friday, May 04, 2007

CD REVIEW - Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior

Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior
Music by Jonathan Elias
Varese Sarabande VSD 6806 (EU)
23 Tracks 62:09 mins

We haven't heard much from Jonathan Elias in recent years, a composer mostly known for his scores for genre films such as Children of the Corn and for TV productions, but now, out of the blue, comes a score for a new film and what's more there's a rare chance to hear his music on CD.
The film appears to be about an abandoned Viking boy, raised by Native Americans, who goes on to fight with them against returning Viking warriors.
Elias was obviously given a decent budget, as he makes use of the City of Prague Philharmonic and Chorus, supplemented by two percussionists . The choir is used sparingly, but effectively, mostly in the action sequences, but percussion is present throughout, and much of the music is drum-driven.
The album gets off to a fine start with powerful drumming, then dissonant choir, in the "Opening Credits," before orchestra joins for a propulsive finish. However, it has to be said that such moments are few and far between in the score, as there is a good deal of mysterious, atonal, ethnic-styled writing to be heard. There are however a few good action cues, like "Vikings Attack," which ends somewhat poignantly with boy soprano, after some menacing and powerful music. "Ghosts Fight Begins" begins dark and threateningly, before building to percussive action, and "First Kill" has a big choral opening, then moves triumphantly to a choral crescendo, before some savage, percussive conflict intervenes. "Quick Kills" presents some episodic action, with quite a bit of dissonance, and "The Last Stand" builds to choir-enhanced action music.
Early on in the score there is some almost spiritual string writing in "Starfire" and this returns in the concluding "Prophecy Fulfilled," before boy soprano and choir take us to a satisfying climax.
A somewhat patchy listening experience then, and maybe this is due partly to the length of the disc, but it's good to have Elias back in the frame, and I'm sure his score will work well in a film that I'm looking forward to seeing.


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