John Debney is a composer who has steadily risen through the ranks and today is considered to be one of the world’s leading composers of music for film. First time I saw his name on the credits for a movie was for HOCUS POCUS where I was immediately struck by his grand sounding score with its impish and cheeky sounding quirks and nuances. His credits since then are varied and numerous, he has worked on many big movies which have had great success at the box office but has also worked on as many intimate films which have not been runaway success. His music for me epitomises the sound of what we know as Hollywood movie music, it is on most occasions fully symphonic, grand and theme laden, romantic, dramatic and haunting. THE YOUNG MESSIAH is one of the composers more recent assignments, I was curious about how the composer would approach this score after his wonderful soundtrack to THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, and yes I know it’s probably wrong to compare the two scores but I suppose we all do this from time to time. I think his work on THE YOUNG MESSIAH is slightly less harsh sounding, by this I mean that THE YOUNG MESSIAH for me personally had to it a softer and more gentile side, I like the way in which the composer utilised the almost ethereal voice of Bethany Woods and embellished and supported it with woodwind and percussive elements to great effect, the composer also made good use of solo string instruments as in cello and violin, at times these giving heart rending performances of themes that are highly passionate and emotive. Of course I am not saying that this is a score that is all soft themes that are filled with a poignant persona. There are also a number of cues that are powerfully dramatic and at times purvey a sound and style that is harrowing and unsettling. The story centres upon a seven-year-old Jesus who with Mary and Joseph goes on a journey from Egypt to Nazareth after the boy is seen to miraculously bring back a person to life. King Herod hears of this and orders that the boy be executed and sends a Roman Centurion to find the family and carry out the killing. Whilst travelling from Egypt to Nazareth both Mary and Joseph become increasingly worried about the safety of Jesus, but as they are travelling through the desert the young Messiah begins to understand more fully about the world around him and the powers that he has been given. Debney’s soundtrack is not only beautiful but is also a compelling listen, and where as THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST was epic in it sound and style THE YOUNG MESSIAH is more intimate and gentle, the music that Debney has written is highly spiritual and reflective, take a listen to track number 11 JESUS HEALS CLEOPUS it is stunning, There is not one cue on here that you will want to skip, its more than likely you will go back and listen to them all again and again, highly recommended.

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