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Monday, January 26, 2009


The Tale of Despereaux
Music by William Ross
Intrada MAF 7105 (US)
26 Tracks 59:04 mins

One of the most underrated, yet dependable composers working in Hollywood today is William Ross. Over the years he has written consistently good scores for the likes of The Amazing Panda Adventure, My Fellow Americans, The Evening Star, Tin Cup, Tuck Everlasting, The Young Black Stallion, Ladder 49 and The Game of Their Lives; as well as adapting John Williams' themes for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and working as orchestrator for many more films besides. Yet, sadly, little of his work is commercially available. So, I'm pleased to say that Intrada has released his music for the recent animation The Tale of Despereaux, about an heroic mouse and his companions on a quest to save a princess. The mouse is voiced by Matthew Broderick, the princess by Harry Potter star Emma Watson, with starry support from Dustin Hoffman, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Robbie Coltrane, Frank Langella and Christopher Lloyd.
Strangely, the album opens with two songs, co-written by Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard and Gary Ross, neither of which appear to feature in the film. With these unremarkable efforts out of the way, it's down to business, with Ross' music featuring solely thereafter, commencing with the largely joyful "Main Title/Prologue," followed by the initially sunny innocence of "The Village of Dor," but which becomes quite propulsive. Subsequent tracks mix light comedic moments with pure slapstick; full-blown, exciting and heroic action scoring with emotional music of sadness, warmth and triumph; as well as providing suitably courtly music for the likes of "The Soup is Served." And throughout, as with many of Ross' best efforts, melody is key. All-in-all as good and varied an accompaniment as one would hope for in a film of this nature, and one of the most enjoyable new scores I've heard in recent months.
The accompanying booklet features colour stills from the film, plus full music credits.
Once again, William Ross has come up with the goods and it's great that this score is readily available to buy, so get along to and secure your copy now.


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