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Soundtrack Review

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The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)


Composers: Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna
Performed by: The Budapest Film Orchestra
Silva Screen Records
RRP: £14.99
Available 18 January 2010

In Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus worlds of candy canes, mile high ladders, giant cobras come and go and transform into other wonders. To underline the dream-like states and fantastical elements of Gilliam’s cinematography, Jeff and Mychael produced a breathtaking and surprising post-modern score. Tangos, Waltzes, Tibetan monastic chant, Mediaeval Music and a greasy noir-ish saxophone tune for Tom Wait's characterization of Satan all mix together with a full orchestra and a couple of show-stopping songs...

This is one soundtrack I've been looking forward to hearing ever since the moment I learned that Mychael and Jeff Danna were going to be penning the score. I bought their soundtrack to Terry Gilliam's earlier movie Tideland after being particularly impressed with how it complemented the film. I must have listed to that score for about a month non-stop - much to the annoyance of my other half and my son.

The soundtrack to The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has the same longevity and anyone who enjoyed the composers music for Tideland will love this even more.

There are a lot of similar styles and themes to Tideland, only somehow they seem more refined; more mature. Also there are a few tracks which appear to pay homage to other composers work.

'Tony's Tale of Woe' has elements of Howard Shore's score for Big (mainly the themes that revolved around the Zoltar machine. Actually this is a theme that runs through a lot of the tracks); 'Suicide Attempt' has a large segment which sounds similar to John Williams's score for Schindler's List; and, on a more classical note, 'Parnassus Alone' opens with an air of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet ballet.

I could have done without the rather silly songs 'We Love Violence' and 'We are the Children of the World' but as they are both pretty short (both well under a minute in length) it's not as though you have to sit through them that long - and you always have the option of leaving them off your playlist.

This is a soundtrack that everyone who loves emotive scores should purchase. There are so many wonderful themes in here that will give you goosebumbs. A joy to listen to from start to finish.


Darren Rea

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