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Monday, December 28, 2009


Under The Mountain
Music by Victoria Kelly
MovieScore Media MMS09029
27 Tracks 60:23 mins

Composer Victoria Kelly is thus far mainly known for her scores in the horror genre, but then opportunities are I suppose few and far between in the limited world of the New Zealand film industry. She must therefore have found working on Jonathan King's action-adventure, Under The Mountain, based on the novel by Maurice Gee, a refreshing change. Kelly has of course worked with King before, most notably on Black Sheep, but this is probably her largest scale score to date, recorded with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The film, which stars Sam Neill, opened in New Zealand on December 10th, but I have no news as yet of its international release.
The album begins with the "Opening Credits" which, after a dark and mysterious opening, builds to a majestic, if ominous, climax. "1888/Nowhere to Run" opens powerfully, and continues that way, before eventually dying away to nothing. A much softer interlude follows with "Rachel and Theo," which hints at a romance, without really developing. "Auckland/The Gathering" has more hugely powerful moments, with a particularly menacing ending. "The House" is largely suspenseful, but again ends menacingly. There's more powerful menace in "Knock Knock," which proceeds percussively, before again dying away. You can probably see that a pattern has already been established and what follows continues to be a mix of mystery, suspense, and powerful moments of menace, with quite savage bursts of action, which are largely unsustained. Having said this, there's a certain majesty to "The Gargantua Rise" and a suitably 'all is well' feeling following in "Let's Go Home," which becomes more and more triumphant as it continues into the disappointing "End Credits," which start well but, sadly, as so often is the case with this score, just dies away to nothingness. Overall then, there's just very little to really latch on to in terms of thematic material, and what excitement is generated just leaves one wanting more. Let's hope the film isn't as frustrating as the score suggests.
Go to to listen to sample tracks and for details of how to obtain your copy of the album on CD, or as a digital download.


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