This is a movie that was released some time ago, and unfortunately did not do that well at the box office, composer Christian Henson has woven a rich and luscious sounding work that is full of all the magic, mystery and wonderment that one would expect given the films genre and subject matter. The opening titles is a piece that is in many ways typical for a fantasy film score, but saying this there is a freshness and atmosphere here that entices the listener in beyond the actual music and sets ones mind wondering what this gorgeous music is accompanying. Henson also employs very effective use of low and sombre sounding strings that are dark and ominous,these however fade and alter in mood to less threatening tones and are enhanced by the use of woods piano and a sprinkling of brass with a celestial sounding choir providing support. This section of the opening eventually reaches a crescendo of sorts and melts into a solo female voice that is punctuated with solo violin and piano being delicately played which creates an atmosphere of solitude and loneliness. Track 2 THE JOURNEY TO MOONACRE is a short but inventive and joyous sounding cue the composer introducing an almost tango orientated composition which is not only effective but very entertaining, it did evoke memories for me of the scoring styles of Trevor Jones, Richard Rodney Bennett and Christopher Gunning. Track 3 ROBIN ATTACKS/ARRIVAL AT MOONACRE is another short but rewarding listen, Henson this time employing the brass section of the orchestra to good effective in a brief but rather frenzied opening, this curtails and segues into a more down beat section performed on strings where we hearing a fleeting reference to the scores central theme. Track 4 INTO THE BOOK is I have to admit my favourite cue on the CD, it starts with low key piano and builds into a working of the central or MOONACRE theme which itself leads to a grandiose sounding piece full of magical and impish mischief that builds into an almost martial sounding composition, but this soon tails off into a more dark and threatening sound complete with strings and a soothing but at the same time unnerving sounding voice.
Track 5, MARMADUKE SCARLET is an original, cheeky and inventive piece where the composer employs the sound of smashing glass to add to the compositions content and originality, creating a comical and attention grabbing work, in fact within the score the composer has utilized a number of homemade instruments i.e.; pots , pans, glasses, jugs and bowls all either filled with water or empty these add a great deal of depth to the score, and make it slightly quirky and certainly more interesting to listen to and also ever more original in its overall presentation and sound. This is in many ways a conventional score, but also it also contains properties and components that pop up or segue into the proceedings that keep it vibrant and out of the ordinary. Jumping to track 14, THE TWO MOON PRINCESSES, this a sheer delight the composer arranging the scores central theme for solo voice and cello that are delicately supported by piano and flute with the addition of choir and strings towards the cues end, it is tracks like this that make this soundtrack well worth listening to. This is a score that I would recommend you purchase as soon as possible, not because its going to be deleted soon, but simply the longer you wait to buy it the longer you will have to wait to experience Christian Henson’s marvelous, meticulous and mesmerizing soundtrack, Wonderment, magic, sparkle and a sense of unworldly-ness prevail here.