SOUTH PACIFIC – David Mitcham

Original Review by Alan Rogers

South Pacific (Wild Pacific in the US) is a six-part British nature documentary series from the BBC Natural History Unit that aired in 2009. The series (a BBC/Discovery Channel co-production) concentrates on the islands, wildlife and people of the vast expanse of the South Pacific. No-one does natural history programming like the BBC: The Blue Planet and Planet Earth are two examples of well-produced nature documentaries that have set the benchmark for others to follow. Audiences are routinely dazzled by the spectacle of the natural world, sometimes seeing many aspects of the world around us for the very first time. Alongside the spectacular visuals, composers such as George Fenton (who composed lavish scores for both The Blue Planet and Planet Earth) are being inspired to compose breathtaking music. British-born composer David Mitcham has been composing for film and television since the late 1990s and his scores for wildlife films in particular have been consistently been recognised for their quality: Danger In Tiger Paradise (2002), The Elephant, The Emperor and The Butterfly (2003) and, most recently, Echo: An Unforgettable Elephant (2010) have all won accolades worldwide. As composer for South Pacific, Mitcham has been inspired by the indigenous music of the region, using vocals, ukelele and percussion to fashion a score that reinforces the geographical setting and adds a subtle level of drama to the various aspects of life in the South Pacific.

The album begins with the excellent “Opening Title Music”, a short cue that uses all the aforementioned elements to immediately transport the listener to idyllic islands and turquoise seas. Of all the tracks featured on the album it is the songs – many of them composed as musical “set pieces” and featuring texts from a variety of languages including Maori, Hawaiian and Rapanui – that linger in the memory once the album has finished. [Read more…]