Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Eleanor's Secret
Music by Christophe Heral
MovieScore Media MMS09030
24 Tracks 51:58 mins

Following my very recent review of Bruno Coulais' score for the animation Coraline, I now have another delightful offering, this time from Christophe Heral, who is best known for his work for the videogame Beyond Good and Evil.
Eleanor's Secret is a recent French animation, which tells the story of a boy who inherits a large book collection and soon finds the fairy-tales on their pages come to life.
Christophe Heral's music is fully orchestral with solo guitar, piano and cimbalom strongly featured and, if anything, is even more enjoyable than Coulais' effort, largely because, whilst still having its quirky moments, it is more melody-driven.
The album begins with the first appearance of the main theme in " On the Road to Kerity", a wordless plaintive child's voice, swiftly joined by the orchestra creating a fairy-tale-like opening, which is briefly interrupted by cimbalom, before children's choir and orchestra take the cue forward, to be succeeded by a solo piano variation that gives way to a lightly flowing ending, with guitar joining the mix. "On the Beach" follows in tuneful, Latin-styled fashion; whilst "The Truck" moves along busily, with cimbalom returning to add an exotic quality, before things slow right down and take on a nocturne-like feel, before ending on an ominous note.
"Nightmares & Illusions" successfully creates an unsettling and quite menacing feel, aided by whispering voices and dissonant strings, before "Eleanor's Letter" lightens things considerably, with more variations on the main theme. However, the mood doesn't last and cimbalom enters eerily, taking things in a much darker direction again, before a more gentle conclusion.
"Introduction to Mr. Pickall" opens in carefree manner, and ends with a quirky wordless vocal; whilst "Nathaniel: Knight of Kerity" opens nobly and ends in a lush rendering of the main theme, which continues in breezy guitar-lead manner in the brief "The Storm." The carefree mood continues into "The Secret Library," which presents the theme in a kind of world music treatment, before things turn more threatening again.
By now you get the picture and what follows is very much in the same vein, with countless inventive variations on the main theme mixing with darker, menacing music, the latter often featuring cimbalom, low flutes and woodwinds. There's also an exciting action cue "A Crab in the Castle."
Some of the cues are quite short, but others leave room for plenty of development; and Heral continues to inject an exotic quality on occasion, as in "Fujara," with its opening ethnic flute solo.
The penultimate track, "Eleanor's Jewels" reprises a number of themes and motifs from the score before coming to a warm and tender conclusion; with the Latin-jazz of "Pickall" ending the album in uplifting fashion.
Go to for samples and to order the CD (digital distribution is by production company Gaumon-Alphanim on this occasion).


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