Tag Archive: ALAN MENKEN


DISNEYS, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, 2017.

 

Composer Alan Menken has always held a special place in my soundtrack collecting heart, his music along with the lyrics of Howard Ashman were in my opinion responsible for re-launching what was the popular genre of the Disney musical movie in the form of the now already classics, THE LITTLE MERMAID, ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, POCAHONTAS, THE HUNCHBAK OF NOTRE DAME, HERCULES and later with ENCHANTED and TANGLED. As we know Disney have embarked on a reboot schedule and have begun to re-create some of their classics in live action mode. BEAUTY AND THE BEST being the latest addition to the growing list. This movie has been much hyped and eagerly anticipated and awaited by all cinema goers both young and old, in other words by kids and even bigger kids, who probably won’t admit it. The film has not disappointed and has in my opinion managed to already cement itself within Disney history and is just waiting to attain the status of being a classic. The story which is familiar to all has been acted out on stage in the form of either serious adaptations or more recently as a musical, which proved popular with audiences all over the world, and also committed to celluloid on numerous occasions, the original Disney version which was animated became a firm favourite for everyone, and much of the appeal to both the Disney movie versions of this timeless tale is down to the clever lyrics of Howard Ashman and also Sir Tim Rice, and of course the melodic and haunting musical themes created by the one and only Alan Menken. I think that many of us forget that Menken is a fine composer and there is much more to him than the creation of nice little tunes that accompany catchy lyrics. The composer is more than capable of adapting his style and focusing his musical prowess to any genre, whether this be dramatic, comedic, romantic or all of these combined and is a highly talented composer of music for not only musicals but also film scores which do need lyrics to make them stand out (if you get what I am saying). The latest BEAUTY AND THE BEAST of course has within it many of the songs that we are already familiar with, as in, BE OUR GUEST, GASTON, BELLE and the title song BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, which is performed by Emma Thompson in the movie and given an update by John Legend and Ariana Grande. Other songs being performed by Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Sir Ian McKellan, Kevin Kline, Audra McDonald, Celine Dion, Ewan McGregor, Josh Gad, Adam Mitchell, Dan Stevens, and Josh Groban, and I think in many ways if I dare say it have the edge somewhat on the animated versions performances.

 

 

Plus, all the time we have Menken’s superb score which shifts up and down the gears adding pace, melancholy, drama and darkness and light to the unfolding story. Disney I am pleased to say have issued a de-luxe version of the soundtrack which is a 2-disc set and contains all the songs and some of the musical scores principal themes, along with Menken’s demo versions of certain songs on disc 1, whilst on disc number 2, we have the score, which is stunning, and gives us the fans or the listener a chance to savour this musical Maestro’s beguiling, magical and enchanting work for this movie. For whatever reason if you have the opinion this is a soundtrack that might be out of place alongside your collection of film scores, please re-think, take a listen, you may be surprised at what you hear, Menken creates some sublimely beautiful and fragile sounding tone poems, many of which might be already familiar, but there are also new motifs and themes that are intertwined with the already established material and these add even greater emotion and depth to the proceedings, the score radiating a vibrant persona that is, mysterious, poignant, charming and enthralling. The action cues too are really entertaining and gripping as in WOLF CHASE, BELLE STOPS THE WAGON, TURRET PURSUIT etc. And there is the track CASTLE UNDER ATTACK which mixes action with melancholy and comedy scoring. Fully symphonic this is a score that will continue to delight and excite no matter how many times one listens to it, so BE OUR GUEST, pull up a chair have a cup of tea and listen. Highly recommended.

Disc 1:
1.
Overture
3:05
2.
Main Title: Prologue, Pt. 1
0:42
3.
Aria (Audra McDonald)
1:02
4.
Main Title: Prologue, Pt. 2
2:21
5.
Belle (Emma Watson, Luke Evans & Ensemble – Beauty and the Beast)
5:33
6.
How Does a Moment Last Forever (Music Box) (Kevin Kline)
1:03
7.
Belle (Reprise) (Emma Watson)
1:15
8.
Gaston (Josh Gad, Luke Evans & Ensemble – Beauty and the Beast)
4:25
9.
Be Our Guest (Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Ian McKellen)
4:48
10.
Days in the Sun (Adam Mitchell, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, Audra McDonald & Clive Rowe)
2:40
11.
Something There (Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack & Gugu Mbatha-Raw)
2:54
12.
How Does a Moment Last Forever (Montmartre) (Emma Watson)
1:55
13.
Beauty and the Beast (Emma Thompson)
3:19
14.
Evermore (Dan Stevens)
3:14
15.
The Mob Song (Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ensemble – Beauty and the Beast, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Mack, Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Ewan McGregor)
2:28
16.
Beauty and the Beast (Finale) (Audra McDonald, Emma Thompson & Ensemble – Beauty and the Beast)
2:14
17.
How Does a Moment Last Forever (Céline Dion)
3:37
18.
Beauty and the Beast (Ariana Grande & John Legend)
3:47
19.
Evermore (Josh Groban)
3:09
20.
Aria (Demo)
0:36
21.
How Does a Moment Last Forever (Music Box) (Demo)
0:59
22.
Days in the Sun (Demo)
3:30
23.
How Does a Moment Last Forever (Montmartre) (Demo)
1:21
24.
Evermore (Demo)
2:55

Disc Time:
62:52

Disc 2:
1.
Main Title: Prologue
3:01
2.
Belle Meets Gaston
0:54
3.
Your Mother
2:13
4.
The Laverie
1:22
5.
Wolf Chase
3:14
6.
Entering the Castle
1:18
7.
A White Rose
3:57
8.
The Beast
4:03
9.
Meet the Staff
1:00
10.
Home (Extended Mix)
2:04
11.
Madame de Garderobe
1:28
12.
There’s a Beast
2:02
13.
A Petal Drops
1:02
14.
A Bracing Cup of Tea
2:06
15.
The West Wing
2:58
16.
Wolves Attack Belle
3:17
17.
The Library
3:05
18.
Colonnade Chat
2:53
19.
The Plague
0:51
20.
Maurice Accuses Gaston
2:01
21.
Beast Takes a Bath
1:21
22.
The Dress
1:01
23.
You Must Go to Him
2:50
24.
Belle Stops the Wagon
2:42
25.
Castle Under Attack
4:20
26.
Turret Pursuit
2:12
27.
You Came Back
5:13
28.
Transformations
4:06

Disc Time:
68:34

Total Album Time:
131:26

SAUSAGE PARTY.

sausgae

Well I have to say I am not a fan of scores for animated movies, well most of them anyway, although in recent years with John Powell writing some truly great material for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and Patrick Doyle on board with his score for BRAVE there have been a few exceptions, I say a few please make note of that. When I heard about SAUSAGE PARTY I thought this is animation gone nuts, when you think of animation you automatically think it’s for the kiddiewinks, come on now you know you do. Well stop it because unless your ankle biter is 15 or above there is no way they will get to see SAUSAGE PARTY at the cinema, what you do when it comes out on DVD is entirely up to you.

The food products at Shop-Well’s Supermarket are led to believe a code that helps them live happy lives until it’s time for them to leave the comfort of their store and travel to the Great Beyond. However, after a trip to the Great Beyond goes wrong and leaves one sausage named Frank and his companion Bun stranded, Frank goes to extreme lengths to return to his packaging and make another trip to the outside. But as he makes his way from one end of the store to the other, Frank’s quest to discover the truth about his existence as a sausage turns incredibly dark and uncomfortable. Will he be able to tell his fellow foods what lies in store for them beyond the doors of the supermarket and persuade them to take action and rise up against their human masters?
The soundtrack for this somewhat unusual and bizarre animated feature is now available and contains a mix of songs and score, music is a collaboration between Alan Menken and Christopher Lennertz, both of whom are well versed in how to score an animated feature. This however is a little different from your run of the mill animated capers, I think it contains more bad language than SOUTH PARK and any of the Tarantino movies put together, it’s an attempt at humour but to be honest I was not that amused. The songs on the release include items by WHAM, MEATLOAF, SPANDUA BALLET and ERIC CARMEN. But it’s the score I am concerned with so onwards and upwards, I have to say although I am not impressed with the movie I do like the original score and was amused by the various musical references from other film scores that Menken and Lennertz managed to weave into the fabric of their score. In fact, I found the score more entertaining than the movie for which was created, there is even an Italian western flavoured cue (track number 9, HE’S COMING) which contains soaring trumpet, electric guitar and a nod in the direction of Morricone’s THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY for a brief moment.

The most amusing and entertaining cue has to be track number 10 FOOD MASSACRE, which starts out as a very light and typically cartoon like piece, then suddenly bursts into psycho like strings that segue perfectly into a take on Jerry Goldsmiths satanic chorus from THE OMEN, it’s all a bit tongue in cheek but oh so effective. There are a number of these big orchestral cues within the score, brass and strings combining to create highly dramatic and fearful sounding pieces with choir and percussion in tow, THE BIG FIGHT for example is in my opinion another nod in the direction of a classic in the form of Bill Conti’s ROCKY score, striving strings, timpani, a bell and brass flourishes are in full flight and then it just stops in its tracks and slides into a Mexican mariachi type trumpet composition, but you have to see the movie to appreciate this. There is no doubt that SAUSAGE PARTY contains an entertaining score, and both the composers have delivered a work that I know as film music collectors you will just love, there are so many film music references thrown in here or at least sound-alike cues and interludes it is just a blast listening out for anything that they might want to throw in and it’s got to be a first an Alan Menken track with explicit lyrics, I kid you not. Also check out the multicultural end song THE GREAT BEYOND, AROUND THE WORLD, this is a score worth investing in. It’s great, it’s fun and you should so check it out. So what you waiting for, available on CD, Spotify and I Tunes.