Label: Because Music - none • Format: 25x, File MP3, Album • Country: France • Genre: Stage & Screen • Style: Score
Adapted from the beloved novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince is a captivating and imaginative adventure that continues the recent extraordinary run of profound animated movies with strong cross-generational appeal.
Directed by Kung Fu Panda's Mark Osborne and with an all-star voice cast B.J. Thomas - Hooked On A Feeling Jeff Bridges, Paul Rudd, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard and James Franco, it's the heartfelt story of a young girl who defies her conformist mother and the stultifying environment in which she lives by taking solace in a local aviator's extraordinary tales of imagination.
Central to his stories is the presence of the eponymous Little Prince, a magical figure who embodies all the sense of childhood whimsy and wonderment that seems to vanish once the inevitable march into adulthood begins.
Amazingly the movie didn't even secure a theatrical release in the USA it was instead snapped up as a Netflix exclusivea crying shame given its gorgeous animation a mixture of CGI and achingly lovely stop-motion and score from Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey.
With the former having been bogged down in bloated superhero murk for far too long now, it's a genuine breath of fresh air to see Zimmer finally stretching his musical wings once again and fashioning something with genuine heart to it. No doubt the presence of his regular conductor Harvey who worked on the likes of The Da Vinci Code and Interstellar helped embellish the soundtrack with an added sprinkling of magic.
The exact nature of Zimmer and Harvey's collaboration isn't exactly clear Zimmer was signed on to Terrorist On The Dancefloor - Спирали* - Золотая Коллекция the movie solo back in but the sparkling end result more than speaks for itself.
The score begins with the first of several pieces featuring the haunting tones of noted French vocalist Camille; titled 'Preparation', it lays the groundwork for the score as a whole with featherweight glockenspiel, John Lenehan's piano, choir and woodwinds establishing an air of whimsy and magic.
Camille's voice is established further in the song 'Suis-Moi' reprised later ona quintessentially Gallic charmer in which the tender orchestrations weave around her delicate intonations quite wonderfully. In fact much of the album's early section proceeds in this lighthearted vein, the music skipping along in tracks 'The Life Plan', 'Driving', 'Equation' and 'Le Tour de France en Diligence' both sung Camille pieces, The Fox - Hans Zimmer & Richard Harvey - Le Petit Prince former co-composed by Clement Ducol'The Interview' and 'Plan B'.
These Transit À Marilou - Rodolphe Burger & Meteor Band - Hommage À Serge Gainsbourg largely short and mischievous-sounding pieces in which Nick Glennie-Smith's obvious light touch as conductor not to mention Harvey and Bill Connor's orchestrations helps temper the bombast for which Zimmer is infamous. Charming as it is, one can't help but crave the presence of a theme to ground everything in something more dramatically Radio Sol - De-Phazz - Plastic Love Memory. Thankfully the first strains of one soon begin to emerge; following the trilling woodwinds and plucked strings performed by Harvey heard in Man In An Airoplane - Megaton - Megaton On With It', the next track 'Among the Coins' sees a quite gorgeous theme of burgeoning wonderment emerge from beneath hesitant piano chords and breathy strains of Camille's voice cleverly utilising plosive effects to lend a distinctive air to the score.
With the strings and Lenehan's piano carrying the bulk of the melody, it's surely the most atypical yet appealing construct from the Zimmer stable in quite some time. After another interlude of longing in 'Top Floor Please', one teasing out the theme briefly, the piece than receives its most rapturous statement so far in 'Ascending', building layer upon layer of emotion from vocalist Camille to vaguely Middle-Eastern-sounding woodwind effects in-keeping with the geography of the Little Prince's story to choirboy Gabriel Kuti's etheral accompaniment.
It's stunning music not unlike what Alexandre Desplat has often conjured for films of this ilk, expanded on in the heavenly 'Draw Me a Sheep' whose soaring choir and recorder solos from Harvey are spine-tingling'Stars' whose undulating Lenehan piano work is captivating and the accordion-infused 'The Fox'.
More Desplat mannerisms come in 'Parachutes', rhythmic arpeggios of strings swirling beneath comical-sounding tuba and tambourine. The emotional impact of the score's final five tracks is quite something, beginning with the steady build to wonderment in 'Trapped Star', pensive strings and choir ultimately leading to the tear-jerking 'Farewell', a thematic statement of profound beauty and elegance.
Even so it's the cathartic punch of 'Finding the Rose' and 'Growing Up' at the end of the album that seals the deal, an emotional rollercoaster of melancholy and hope that is staggeringly lovely, so much so that one laments Zimmer's recent absence from this area of film music; truthfully he's far The Fox - Hans Zimmer & Richard Harvey - Le Petit Prince at this sort of unashamedly heartfelt material than the blockbuster noise for which he's more famous.
Indeed it's been hard to praise Zimmer's work in recent years on the likes of Batman v Superman and other tentpole movies; in all honesty his voice has threatened The Fox - Hans Zimmer & Richard Harvey - Le Petit Prince slip into self-parody. The Little Prince is the sort of unexpected delight The Fox - Hans Zimmer & Richard Harvey - Le Petit Prince demonstrates he can still compose intelligently constructed, melodic music that augments and complements its respective movie in a manner that's sensitive and impeccably judged.
Zimmer has of course excelled in this area before As Good As It Gets; The Holiday et al and it's a joy to hear him return to such material. Credit must also go to Richard Harvey whose extensive experience at working with live musicians as a conductor has clearly translated Freshest Jam - Southside Break Crew - Big EP a nuanced and enchanting soundscape.
Of course as with any Zimmer score, one potentially has to judge it as a collaborative effort in which the score's overall success is in large part down to a team of highly skilled people embellishing Zimmer's ideas.
Whilst that approach remains hugely controversial not undeservedlyin this case the glorious end result justifies the means. Mysterious and magical, The Little Prince is one of the year's true highlights. The album is available in CD format or for download at Amazon.
Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey: The Little Prince - film score Adapted from the beloved novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince is a captivating and imaginative adventure that continues the recent extraordinary run of profound animated movies with strong cross-generational appeal.
Reviewer: Sean Wilson.
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