October 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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  VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6170   [39:34]

It can be very hard for a composer to follow in the footsteps of another, attempting to fashion something personal and original based on existing material. And it must be all the more difficult when the original music is of such a high calibre as Randy Edelman's score for the first Dragonheart movie. Even so, Mark McKenzie has given it his best shot, using the memorable Edelman theme where appropriate and supporting it with a sturdy backbone of dramatic action/suspense scoring.

Sensibly that original, stirring and emotional theme by Randy Edelman is used sparingly, allowing McKenzie to put his own stamp on the score, rather than just rehashing the previous material. Edelman's theme is first heard in 'Dragonheart: A New Beginning, Main Titles', a rich, symphonic reintroduction to the world of knights, derring-do and fire breathing behemoths and subsequently appears in 'Friar Peter Went to Heaven', 'Dragon Heaven' and 'Of My Heart to Thee I Give'.

McKenzie's own most significant theme is 'My Heart Goes With You (Instrumental)', a sweet, romantic string piece with a subtle Chinese flavour. Actually this grows on you with repeat plays, although I think the arrangement doesn't really do full justice to the melody. It's reprised in various forms in 'Serenade to the Stars', 'Tai Chee' and at the conclusion of 'My Wise Master and Closest Friend'. There's also a vocal version performed by Rona Figueroa (with lyrics by Shari Goodhartz), but this works less well than the instrumental.

As might be expected the score has its fair share of action music, as in tracks like 'Lian's Awesome Fight', 'Roland Bullies Geoff' (with distinctive brass), 'Chinese Battle the Knights' and 'Terragoth Ambush!'. And while it may not be particularly original or innovative, it stands up well and is solid enough. The same can also be said of the various suspense cues. 'Dungeon, Skeletons, & A Dragon' works to good effective and 'Prophetic Transformation' builds in intensity and makes a strong dramatic impression.

If there aren't any real fireworks here, it's certainly a reliable enough piece of work. The music does its job and is pleasant to listen to in an undemanding way. Given that this is a sequel score, probably about as good as might reasonably have been hoped for.

Mark Hockley



Mark Hockley


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