" Big, Bigger or Biggest emotional music of the year "
Written by Thomas Glorieux
- Review of
the regular release
The news that Robert Folk would be doing a re score for the Roland Joffé drama There be Dragons (the original version was scored by Stephen Warbeck, Folk has written the music for a recut version of the drama, which is released under the title There Be Dragons: Secrets of Passion) was one of the most exciting reports I encountered in 2011. After all, it was from 2006 ago that we received or at least heard the last score of Folk in a motion picture. And because we were bitching about the fact forgotten composers of the 80's and 90's didn't receive a chance anymore today, it made this news all the more rewarding. Fortunately, it also received a soundtrack release of about 50 minutes. Now, there's something you must know. You hear it, the absence of Folk and the thrill to be back, you hear and feel it in the mere first notes of the first track. And it's a sound I was longing for.
Because I hear inspiration and good old orchestral power coming from Folk's main theme, Folk's rousing opener that houses guitar, choir and a sublime trumpet encore is the stuff that makes music memorable. There's something about that acoustic guitar tingling over the orchestral music that gives me goosebumps, it's something in the combination, I'm sure. Now "Main Titles" already puts you on the edge of your seat. And I can promise you, the feeling will definitely live on in the opening tracks. "Battle Begins", which the opening track fluently flows in continues the rousing opening style, the wonderful elegiac love theme flourishes early on in "Romance" and "More Dad" (and more outrageously through the choir in "Love and War Finale", while it's startling to hear so much Brian Tyler in "Killing Priests" (Battle LA fans will love this one). Meaning what the opening of There be Dragons unleashes is like the 'play book of Brian Tyler' promises, an opening that demands for continuation. Together these 2 themes dominate the entire experience with one powerful statement after another.
Because "Robert's Investigation" doesn't change a lot, the dramatic potency is only heightened through the use of choir and the frivolity of that acoustic guitar, that soaring love theme over the urgency of the action music in "Change Plans" never dies and even a 53 second track leaves nothing to chance, unleashing an orchestral heroic take on the main theme with more of those fantastic trumpet calls. I mean, the more the album progresses, the more we encounter equally stunning orchestral music, outrageous and overblown emotive depth coming from each section of the orchestra or choir, with no sign of letting up. A love and main theme nobility in "Priest's Calling", the rousing Brian Tyler manner in "Battle for Madrid", the delicious guitar twangs over the emotional urgent "Franco's Government Files" and that never ending strength of the love theme in "Oriol is Dead" and "Who to Kill", There be Dragons just keeps bringing it emotionally grand, and unbelievably powerful.
Now, as always, there must be something wrong about it, at least always for me. And I have to be honest, There be Dragons is facing the exact same problem of a Brian Tyler score. In fact, apart from the astonishing trumpet work, I would unintentionally listen to this and assume it's another Brian Tyler effort. It's programmed the same way in album format, it's equally rousing and endlessly entertaining. And it feels more like music supporting the scene, but without a sign of development. The short tracks can't deliver development, but simply from note 1, it's overblown and powerful music until the very last second. Not one track, nearly all of them. Just like a Brian Tyler score. I love Robert Folk, but I hear more Brian Tyler in this than Robert Folk. It's in the tiny moments that it suddenly becomes that something extra, like the guitar that adds 50% of the emotion, or the trumpets that deliver an old school magnificence you'll rarely hear.
There be Dragons is unbelievably powerful, and UN-Hollywood like bombastic and thematic, but it also lacks originality and development after a while (just like a Brian Tyler effort). And something tells me, it would have made this the release of the year, if it followed a more streamlined approach. But that doesn't stop me from recommending this if you want one sheer emotional powerhouse piece after another.. Because every track is big for some apparent reason.
1. Main Titles (1.57) Excellent track
2. Battle Begins (1.04)
3. Romance (2.35) Excellent track
4. More Dad (1.17)
5. Killing Priests (3.53) Excellent track
6. Love and War Finale (2.52) Excellent track
7. Robert's Investigation (3.36)
8. Change Plans (2.43)
9. Hanging Bridge Battle (0.53) Excellent track
10. Manolo Starts his Story (1.32)
11. Pray for Him (2.29)
12. Kidnap and Kill (2.41)
13. Priest's Calling (2.29)
14. Battle for Madrid (2.10) Excellent track
15. Franco's Government Files (1.57)
16. Oriol is Dead (2.38)
17. Manolo Meets Generals (1.36)
18. Lord Open my Eyes (1.30)
19. Idilko by the Lake (1.42)
20. Train Station Patriots (0.40)
21. The Priest, I Knew Him (0.57)
22. Who to Kill (3.17) Excellent track
23. Factory Strike (1.02)
24. At First Sight (0.46)
25. Sitting Ducks (1.04)
26. A Baby is Born (0.47)
27. Then God is Just (0.40)
28. An Epic Story (1.23)
Total Length: 52.10