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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Music by Bruno Coulais
Columbia 88697642062 (France)
21 Tracks 60:56 mins

So here we have the second new documentary score from Bruno Coulais, for Disneynature's Oceans. The CD is currently available only in France, but surely it will receive a US release before long, probably around or after the film's US release date of April 22nd.
Oceans, as the title suggests, is a documentary about the sea and the creatures that live beneath the waves.
Coulais' score was recorded in Paris for full orchestra, but with the emphasis on harp and violin, courtesy of soloists Marielle Nordmann and Laurent Korcia respectively. Also featured are the French choir Mikrokosmos, and electronic sounds are also utilised.
The disc the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, kindly sent me is actually a little longer than the commercial release, but I'll confine myself to those tracks you can hear on the latter, starting with "La Fusee" (Rocket), a largely atmospheric piece for electronics, harp and celesta, but which blossoms at the end. "La Cavalerie des Dauphins" (Dolphin Cavalry) follows, and is a suitably, brass and strings driven, propulsive affair. "Les Temps des Decouvertes" (The Time of Discovery) opens on a weaving violin and strings figure, which intensifies, but then becalms and introduces a tranquil woodwind solo, before weaving its way to a close again. "La Danse des Dauphins" (Dancing Dolphins) is a peaceful, balletic tune; whilst "L'Eveil" (Awakening) rises from the depths to sail forth majestically on brass and strings, before violin and harp play us out peacefully. "Les Otaries" (Sea Lions) is strangely war-like, with martial percussion; whilst "Le Nouveau Monde" (The New World) touches on the awe of discovery. "Le Recif de Jour" (The Reef at Night) has a mysterious and somewhat threatening feel to it, with surprising use of jazzy double bass.
The bassoon is always good if one is seeking a light-hearted feel and makes its presence felt in the comical opening of "Danses" (Dances), which later picks up speed and becomes quite adventurous, before ending on a sneaky note. The strange percussion and electronics of "Le Recif de Jour" (The reef in Day) lead to "L'Arrivee des Araignees" (The Arrival of Spiders), an impressive drums-lead call to arms. The strings-dominated "A L'Aventure" (At Random) sees a return for the weaving violin figure; whilst "Cavalerie Sous La Mer" (Cavalry Under the Sea) is another propulsive, initially strings-driven affair, which intensifies, before ending quietly. The majestic "Le Nouvel Ocean" (The New Ocean) again features an expressive violin solo, but ends on a tranquil, piano-lead note; whilst "Jusqu' a la Source" (To the Source) is quite a violent and turbulent piece, and leads into "Les Massacres" (Massacres), which builds into something of a choral requiem, before ending in fading gull-like calls.
Another expressive violin solo opens the beautiful, yet sorrowful "Disparus" (Missing), joined by harp, orchestra and haunting electronics; with the first solo vocal offering following in the lilting "Etranges Creatures" (Strange Creatures), courtesy of the young Lancelot Perrin. "Aquarium" is probably the dullest track on the album, which unfortunately leads to the concluding "Ocean Will Be," performed by Gabriel Yacoub. I say unfortunate, because it is not on the disc that Costa Communications sent me, so I can't tell you anything about it. Instead, my disc ends with three more instrumental pieces, all of them worthy of inclusion on the commercial album.
Unlike, Babies, Coulais' score for Oceans is an impressive, full-blooded orchestral/choral work, with some powerful moments, though not without some typically surprising choices along the way.


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