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Saturday, June 02, 2007

CD REVIEW - Westender

Music by Rob Simonsen
M.O.B. Productions Promo (US)
24 Tracks 74:03 mins

The element of this 2003 medieval fantasy which apparently received most acclaim was Rob Simonsen's score, and thankfully this is now available for purchase on CD.
The film concerns a fallen knight on a quest to redeem himself, and the composer is actually credited in the cast, as well as having written the music. His score is achieved with a combination of live players, with violins and horns prominent, voices and subtle electronics.
The main thematic material is by turns quite spiritual and noble and heroic, with a propulsive variant, driven by the horns. The theme crops up in variations throughout the score and is always welcome.
Tracks of particular note are "Gypsy Song," a lovely a capella song for female vocal group; the first real substantial introduction of the main theme in "Sir Asbrey of Westender;" the increasingly powerful "Recognized," which then becomes somewhat of a folksy mover for fiddle and drum; "the highly spiritual "The Frozen Knight;" and the concluding tracks, the powerful, percussive "Battle Flashback;" the propulsive "Wrestling With Demons;" "Resurrection, "with its powerful, rhythmic development of the main theme; the percussive conflict of "Jarlishan Fight;" and "The Return of the westender/Final," which starts out quite mournful, but builds spiritually to a satisfying conclusion, before playing out with variations on the main themes from the score.
Simonsen is mostly known for his work with Mychael Danna on scores for the likes of Where The Truth Lies, The Nativity Story and the forthcoming Surf's Up, but on the strength of his music for Westender, now available for all to appreciate, it can surely be only a matter of time before he becomes a sought after composer in his own right.
For further details on the composer and to hear music samples from his projects, visit


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