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Soundtrack Review


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His Dark Materials
The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials

 

Composer: Lorne Balfe
Performed by: the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Label: Silva Screen Records
silvascreen.com
RRP: £TBC
SILCD1612 (CD)
Release Date: 17 January 2020


Silva Screen are releasing two albums for His Dark Materials. There's the Original Television Soundtrack and this, The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials. which is a concept album and an introduction to the music for the TV series. Both are composed by Lorne Balfe.

The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials features the opening title theme together with key character themes for the young protagonists Lyra, Roger and the adults Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel and Lee Scoresby. Other themes present the majestic locations of Oxford and Svalbard, the people that Lyra encounters on her epic journey (the Gyptians, the Witches of Lake Enara, the machinations of The Magisterium) and The Alethiometer, the device that helps set all the events in motion.

Performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the concept album has attracted a stellar cast of additional contributing recording artists. Already fans of the book and wanting to contribute to the series, the album connects singer K T Tunstall, drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), cellist Tina Guo, post modern composer-cellist Peter Gregson, steam punk influenced violinist and dancer Lindsey Stirling, classical horn player Sarah Willis, BAFTA award winning composer, multi instrumentalist Richard Harvey and Vanya Moneva’s Ethnic Bulgarian Choir.

The album contains 20 tracks (55 min, 06 sec) and for those who are fans of the series this represents a rather novel, but very welcome release. It's issued a month before the original TV score and acts as an "introduction" to the characters and environments. I actually prefer this to the TV series soundtrack, as it allows Balfe a little more freedom to craft beautiful themes - which he does, wonderfully here.

There are so many highlights that it's almost impossible to know where to start singing its praises. This will be welcomed by fans of the show, and it also works well as a standalone collection of themes in its own right for those who have never seen the TV series.

9

Darren Rea

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