The music for the latest version of Stephen Kings IT, is the work of the popular and accomplished composer Benjamin Wallfisch. The score is an interesting and a haunting one, it contains some beautiful themes and as one would expect a fair amount of music or musical sounds that I suppose can be deemed as being atonal. However, I must say that this is a horror score with a difference as the composer has constructed some highly emotive pieces and some beautiful melodies along the way. The score is one that will please and delight many soundtrack collectors as it is for the most part fully symphonic, with electronic support being just that, “support” and not overshadowing or overpowering the conventional instrumentation at all, yes the synthetic elements do at times come into their own to create jarring affects that accompany moments of violence or sheer dread and the somewhat grating effects during moments of horror lend their attributes perfectly to the job of creating that somewhat blurry and fuzzy sound that is perfect to accompany these sequences. In many ways, the work for me personally evoked memories of the music of Jerry Goldsmith, the composers use of the string and brass sections being forthright and powerful, Wall Fisch also enlists the aid of children’s voices who perform a rather sinister sounding version of the ORANGES AND LEMONS nursery rhyme. But it’s not all sweetness and light as the lilting and initially comforting rhyme, transforms and alters into a sinister and threatening sound that is filled with foreboding, apprehension and virulence, at one point the line HERE COMES A CHOPPER TO CHOP OFF YOUR HEAD, being spoken over and over, gaining momentum and being distorted whilst at the same time being enhanced by swirling and racing strings that are punctuated and embellished by percussive elements and growling brass, this style is pronounced and first heard in the tracks RIVER CHASE and more evident in the cue EGG BOY. To say that this music is scary is something of an understatement, listening to it alone through headphones I would not recommend, but saying this in my opinion this is written in the style of all good classic horror soundtracks, lots of stabs, jumps and rasping brass underlined by racing percussion that booms and thunders along whilst the string section works overtime with driving compositions and searing slices of mayhem that weave in and out of the proceedings, cutting in and out with jagged and harsh hisses at times, creating an atmosphere that is urgent, unsettling and stressful.
This mood is given more support using distorted voices and solo voice performances which are harrowing as well as uncomfortable, but their inclusion is vital and they become an essential part of the scores make up. I think it is the inclusion of these bursts of ORANGES AND LEMONS, sung by children that makes this work even more sinister and fearful, because hearing the nursery rhyme makes one feel safe, but saying this there are still shivers going up one’s spine when they are being performed. This is a score that contains music that you will want to return to many times to savour the sheer creativity and original writing of Benjamin Wallfisch, it is also a score that contains music that will in plain and simple terms scare the pants off you. The music from IT, can be romantic or calming in one moment and purveys warmth and security, then in the next heart stopping second becomes, something that you really do not want to be alone with, and that I suppose is the perfect recipe for a horror movie score. The music serves the film wonderfully, but also can stand alone away from the movie and remain entertaining. The composer has created a classic work, and a work that I think will be popular amongst soundtrack aficionados. This dark, unrelenting, brooding and apprehensively melancholy sounding score is highly recommended.