I first came across the music of Alex Wurman when I enthusiastically reviewed his impressive score for Thirteen Conversations About One Thing on this site in August 2002.
For March of the Penguins he has created an enchanting score invoking the chill wastes of the Antarctic, the harsh environment that challenges the survival of its colourful inhabitants – the penguins. Heavy bass string ostinatos and icy vibe chords suggest chill expanses. Flutes, harp, spare use of synths and piano, and shakers and bassoon in ‘The March’, nicely evoke the penguins comic gait, and their resilience and resolute determined march that is their pilgrimage to meet their mate and preserve their species. But there are also waltz figures in the score to suggest the penguins’ corresponding grace. The film shows how the penguins face snowstorms, hunger, loneliness and predators in order to give birth and protect their offspring so not surprisingly it tugs at the heartstrings and in response Wurman music has great emotional appeal. In fact one could easily imagine much of the material, shorn of the brilliant, realistically evocative harmonies and orchestrations – the most attractive elements of this score - being used as popular ballad material. Some of the material is derivative, derivative of material you somehow know you have heard before but cannot quite put your finger on.
Wurman started his career composing and arranging for Hans Zimmer contributing to such blockbusters as Armageddon, A League of Their Own and The Lion King He has since worked on a number of films including: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Hollywood Homicide, Anchorman and Play It to the Bone as well as Thirteen Conversations…
An enchanting and wonderfully evocative, emotional score.