Composer, Bear McCreary, never ceases to amaze me. With each scoring assignment he seems able to re-invent and alter his musical style and sound, which I suppose is the whole idea of writing for film, because each new project is different. I have always been impressed by his work and I do realise many people associate him with THE WALKING DEAD television series, but there is so much more that this composer has. However, saying that the scores for WALKING DEAD were and are still wonderfully atmospheric and even grandiose at times far outstripping the actual quality of the series they are intended to enhance. And as one of his most anticipated scores for the new GODZILLA movie looms in the wings, we are spoiled and treated by his soundtrack to THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN, this is a highly atmospheric and mood laden work, with the composer creating beautiful but at the same time slightly unnerving melodies, that are interesting and haunting. McCreary has fashioned a eloquent and at key points mesmerizing sounding work, the composer utilising the string section and also solo performances from that section to purvey a lush and lavish rich musical persona, that is tinged with apprehension and a sombre mood. For me personally this is probably one of McCreary’s most accomplished and musically, mature works and also is one which I have no reservations on when it comes to recommending it to fellow soundtrack fans and connoisseurs. The mournful or melancholy cello performances are a highlight and these alone are capable of creating a richness and darkly romantic sound on their own, but there is more as they say, the composers obvious talent for inventive writing is too present and he works his innovative magic in many of the cues to bring forth a sad, solitary and a lilting style, that is immediately attractive. The alluring tone poems which McCreary has formed although subdued are totally absorbing and affecting, as are the darker and more threatening pieces, with the composer for the majority of the score maintaining a low key and minimalistic approach, being economical with the score. The cue FINDING THE PAMPHLET for example (track number-7), begins in a somewhat menacing way, with strings creating a tormented and agitated introduction, but this soon fades and gives way to plaintive woods which are supported by subdued and understated strings which give a foundation to the woodwind. This then segues into a lighter sounding mood again created by the fusion of rich cello and woodwinds which are also enhanced and given a slight but luxurious string accompaniment. Track number 8, THE SNOWBALL FIGHT is a delight to hear, with the composer again turning to the string section to purvey, richness and melancholy. This is a score that I returned to a few times before writing this review as it has so many musical faces and personas it is at times hard to take in that all the music comes from one score.
There is also a beautiful vocal on the score, WHEN I AM DEAD is presented in two version, firstly the piece that we hear in the movies and then at the end of the recording in a slightly edited version on both performances the vocal is by, Melanie Henley Heyn. All together this a rewarding and enriching listen. Recommended.