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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos
Music by The Cinematic Orchestra
Walt Disney Records 266 5692 (EU)
12 Tracks

There was a time when Walt Disney made seemingly countless real-life adventure films, introducing young audiences to the wonders of nature, whilst offering a compelling narrative to draw them in. Now, a new arm, Disneynature has been formed, which seeks to revive this tradition, it's first offering being The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos, set around Lake Natron in northern Tanzania, which focuses on a the trials and tribulations of a flamingo hatchling. The film opens in the UK this Friday, exclusive to London's Empire Leicester Square, but from 29th September it will show nationally at 62 Cineworld digital sites, and from 9th October will go on general release.
The somewhat minimalist music for the film has been provided by The Cinematic Orchestral, an ensemble of musicians lead by Jason Swincoe who, along with Phil France, wrote the music that they and their fellow artists (with assistance from the London Metropolitan Orchestra) perform.
The music for the "Opening Titles" gives a wonderful feeling of flight and is quite gorgeous. This is followed by "Arrival of the Birds," which is suitably expectant to begin with, before opening out into another take on the main theme, before dying away again. "The Dance" opens on castanets, which, along with a battery of percussion, lead us through this catchy number. Things quiet down with the initially delicate "Soda," before strings enter warmly. "Hatching" continues the warmth, subdued at first, but increasingly triumphant. The deep sax tones of the rhythmic "Marabou" bring a slightly unsettling tone to proceedings, but things lighten and briefly take flight again with "Exodus," though a cold feeling soon settles over the track and this alternates with more soaring triumph for the rest of the running time.
"Transformation" is filled with piano-lead wonder and reaches quite glorious heights. A brief moment of disquiet follows in the tense "Hyena," which ends quite savagely; but the serene "Life of the Bird" provides calm after the storm. "First Light" builds from a subdued opening into glistening acoustic guitars-lead morning glory, ending serenely again on strings; the album closing with a fine vocal of "Crimson Skies" by Lou Rhodes.
This really is a lovely album and I can well imagine it providing a wonderful accompaniment to the film. I'm so lucky to have had both this and Viva Pinata come my way these past few days.
Accompanying the CD (with its shocking pink label) is a striking 12-page booklet with colour stills from the film, full music credits, and a note from the film's co-director Leander Ward. The album is available on disc or to download from all good music outlets, and is highly recommended.


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