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Monday, May 26, 2008


The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Walt Disney records D000074202 (US)
16 Tracks 75:09 mins

Director Andrew Adamson and composer of choice Harry Gregson-Williams reunite for the second Walt Disney/Walden Media adaptation of the C.S. Lewis Chronicle of Narnia series, Prince Caspian, which sees the young cast from the first film return, a little older, to the magical land to once more do battle against evil, this time in the shape of the evil King Miraz.
Gregson-Williams' score for the first film, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, had its critics, but I enjoyed it and it served the film admirably. This time, the composer calls upon huge orchestral and choral resources (no less than three choirs are credited), plus soloists like Lisbeth Scott, Hugh Marsh and Richard Harvey (of course, a fine composer in his own right), to produce a score which has a somewhat darker tone, reminiscent of Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings trilogy. I just hope that, like Alan Silvestri's score for Van Helsing, for instance, the critics don't complain that there is too much action writing. For me, that was a stupendous listen, and this is very much along those same lines, with the action hardly letting up through the album's 12 score tracks.
Gregson-Williams of course reprises material from the first film, with the Narnia theme, in particular, always welcome; adding new themes to the mix to create a score which is filled with memorable moments, be they dark and menacing, light and ethereal, or downright triumphant and soaring. It's a musical treat, with every track having something to offer.
About an hour of the score is presented on this attractively packaged album, with the final four tracks being given over to unremarkable vocals by Regina Spektor, Oren Lavie, Switchfoot and Hanne Hukkelberg, all unfamiliar names to me. The disc is also enhanced and, if you pop it into your computer, and connect to the internet, you can see the "official movie trailer," as well as a photo gallery; though there are also plenty of these in the accompanying booklet, together with a note on the music by the director, full music credits, plus lyrics for all the featured songs.
It's hard to imagine there will be many more enjoyable scores this year than Prince Caspian, and that for the new Indiana Jones film, and we are indeed fortunate that they both debut around the same time.


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