Saturday, January 22, 2011

Soundtrack Review: Peter Pan

Just so you know, folks, I'm not talking about the old animated one. I'm talking about this one:

The score for Peter Pan was written by James Newton Howard, the same guy who did Treasure Planet. (In case you haven't yet, please read that review here)

It was suggested to me that I do a short review of each separate track, so I'll try that this time. Remember, you are more than welcome to leave suggestions of your own!

1. Main Title:

The Main Title is very much your typical opening score. It has a pleasant blend of the themes and uses many different instruments. It reminded me of the first score in How to Train Your Dragon called This is Berk because of the way Howard stuck the themes in there and his use of dynamics. The score goes from quiet and mysterious to full-blown swashbuckleyness and back again. I thought that was very cool.

2. Flying:

I almost didn't like it because of the use of synthetic instruments, but now that I've listened to it as a whole I think the unreal, static-y sound actually works. Because it was blended with real instruments I think it sounded better. If it had just been synthetic I don't think I'd like it very much. I also loved the way I could hear them flying with the use of violins. My other favorite thing about this song was, of course, the drums. You can't have a song like this without them. The ending of the song really got me with the horns and drums along with a synthetic something- I can't tell what.

3. Learning to Fly:

Not to be confused with Flying, this song begins much more intense. Then it mellows out a bit and takes on a Celtic/English feel. I liked the way the melody was passed among instruments and Howard's chord choices were very unique. This score is different from his others because, unlike most of his others, this one focuses on one main melody.

4. Tinkerbell:

This one is very mellow and mystical. The chords Howard chose for this one surprise me sometimes. I try to predict what will come and when it doesn't it makes me want to listen harder. It was hard to pick out a sure melody in this one. It seems very background-y.

5. Is That a Kiss:

I've got to say, the chords in the beginning of this score are just weird. I'll bet it fits with the movie, which I haven't actually seen, but for listening to alone it isn't my favorite.

6. Peter's Shadow:

Like Flying, this one uses synthetic instruments, though not as much. I really like this one because of the chord choice and the way Howard uses the synthetic voices- if, in fact, that is what they're supposed to be.

7. A Note From the Teacher:

I like this one because it begins with a funny sort of melody using a low horn. I can picture some pirate hobbling around on a peg leg for some reason. Then it gets into the main melody which is very energetic and playful while at the same time being somewhat intense. That is hard to do!

8.Build a House Around Her:

This one sounds very playful because very few low instruments are used. That's actually what I've been trying to begin doing with my own compositions. In the past I'd always depended on my bass clef to tell the story. This song is neat because it tells the story by using higher instruments instead.

9. Come Meet Father:

I'm not really sure why but it started out sounding Native American with the flute-y thing. I'm not sure that I really like this song either. It just sounds sort of awkward.

10. Fetch Long Tom:

This one reminds me of Treasure Planet, I think because of the melody. It's by far one of the most intense songs out of them all. Again, the use of drums makes the song all the better.

11. Mermaids:

This isn't a happy song. It just sounds heavy and dark. That must be the use of a droning note and the voices. I think I also heard a timpani in there. It's also pretty intense even if it isn't the most exciting or loud.

12. Fairy Dance:

This one is The Director's favorite, and I can see why. It's very light and dance-like. What she really likes about it is the voices. I like it because of the unpredictable chords Howard throws in there, and the occasional messing with the time signature. Over all it is an exceptional piece of music.

13. Set Them Free:

The beginning of this one reminds me of the song Ben from Treasure Planet because I can just hear something lurking in the shadows, just waiting to pop out. Then it gets somewhat intense and I stop liking it. No, it isn't my favorite, but I don't mind it too much.

14. I Do Believe in Fairies:

What I really like about this one is the way Howard began the song- with a very ocean-y, floating feel, and the piano. It worked. He sort of meshed Fairy Dance and Flying which was too cool. The drums completed it, as usual. I'm pretty sure this is my favorite song out of them all. The only disappointing part was the ending.

15. Poison:

As the name suggests, this is a more intense, heavy song. I didn't really like it, but I'm sure it fits the movie.

16. Please Don't Die:

This one is mellow and pleading, but it gets brighter and more hopeful, while still being unsure. Howard did a great job blending major and minor chords.

17. Flying jolly Roger:

 All I really have to say is that this song was very sparkly. Interesting, huh? Howard used the main theme but changed it just enough that it wasn't repetitive.

18. Peter Returns:

This one is reminiscent of the Main Title while still being its own piece. It stretches and bends the main melody. Also, it swells. Typical ending. What i found interesting, though, was that it only used one of the themes- the main one. It didn't even hint at any of the others.

Overall, the Peter Pan soundtrack was worth every penny. It was typical James Newton Howard. Just for fun, I made a playlist of everything I have by him and sometimes I couldn't tell what movie a song was from. This one was more similar to Treasure Planet, most likely because the setting and time period are similar. I did hear hints of Great Debaters thrown in there though, which I found interesting considering The Great Debaters takes place in America during the 1930's.

That's all! Again, suggestions are most helpful when it comes to this sort of thing. Please comment and tell me what you thought.

1 comment:

  1. Hee hee... great review, girlfriend! Very nice, very thorough! *claps*

    Of course, typically one would say, "Now I have to go buy this soundtrack!" But methinks I already have it. :D Courtesy of YOU, of course! ;)

    PS. If you drop by later, I'll give you Pillars. ;)


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