Posted by Alan Rogers on November 30, 2011
Original Review by Alan Rogers
In the summer of 2009 Peter Pan was back in London’s Kensington Gardens, the place where J.M. Barrie first met the Llewelyn Davies family and and where he told the stories about the boy who never grew up. Housed in a big marquee and with the stage surrounded by the audience, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (to distinguish it from Disney’s Peter Pan?) boasts state-of-the-art, wrap-around, 360° cinematic CGI projections that are beamed onto the walls and ceiling of what is essentially a big tent. With the central stage designed as a bedroom and which is converted (in turn) to Neverland and Captain Hook’s ship, the projections allow cast (via acrobatic wire-work) and audience (via their imagination) to fly above London – swerving to avoid the dome of St. Paul’s cathedral – or dive the watery depths around Skull Island. Reviewers of the production were split between praising the melding of high-tech wizardry with charmingly simple stage production values and criticising the production and adaptation for removing a lot of the emotional heart of the play (Ben Harrison’s production is much nearer in feel to the original play than the subsequent film adaptations such as Disney’s 1953 animated version).
Composer, conductor and orchestrator Benjamin Wallfisch (The Escapist) composes a predominantly orchestral score for J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, using a relatively large orchestra (80+ members) to create both the magic that is Peter Pan as well as the darker side of the original story. A magical air is immediately established as celeste and harp opens the album (“Peter Breaks Through”) and the presence of what sounds like wordless choir and flighty woodwinds maintains an otherworldly and fantastical feel. However, both in this track and the following one (“Peter and Wendy”) there’s a restraint, a hesitancy and perhaps an air of melancholy that tempers the magic. It is not long however before the score opens out to reveal the magic at the heart of the tale. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Reviews | Tagged: audio clips, Benjamin Wallfisch, J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, Reviews, Soundtracks, Theatre music, Theatre score | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan Rogers on August 27, 2011
Original Review by Alan Rogers (First uploaded at maintitles.net)
The Escapist is a 2008 British drama starring Brian Cox as convicted murderer and prison lifer Frank Perry. With no chance of parole, he has no choice but to plan a prison break when he decides to make peace with his estranged daughter before she dies after falling ill. In order to carry out his ingenious plan of escape he must call upon the skills of group of fellow inmates. What follows is a claustrophobic tale switching between prison breakout build-up and the actual escape through a warren of underground tunnels. Co-writer and director Rupert Wyatt’s (also director of the upcoming Rise of The Planet of The Apes) decision to use a minimum amount of dialogue together with the murky, gloomy feel to the movie presented a challenge to composer Benjamin Wallfisch.
Wallfisch came to the attention of the film music world with his acclaimed score to his feature film debut, Dear Wendy (released by MovieScore Media), earning him many accolades including a nomination for “Discovery of The Year” at the 2005 World Soundtrack Awards (WSA). As well as composing his own film scores he has orchestrated many of Dario Marianelli’s scores, including Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, V For Vendetta and Jane Eyre. Wallfisch’s score for The Escapist (which led to a second “Discovery of The Year” nomination at the WSA in 2008) is bookended by a memorable title theme that’s based on a raw and gutsy propulsive ostinato in the strings (particularly the low register strings) that’s reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s use of low strings in The Ring. The motif is embellished with piano, winds as well as cimbalom. The mix of the clear sound of the hammered dulcimer alongside the meaty but muddy sound of the strings of the propulsive motif is an interesting one and is heard particularly well in the second track of the score, “Diamond”. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Reviews | Tagged: Benjamin Wallfisch, film music, film score, Reviews, Soundtracks, The Escapist | Leave a Comment »