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Soundtrack Review

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Jim Henson's The Storyteller
Music from the Original Television Series


Composer: Rachel Portman
Label: Varèse Sarabande
Click here to buy -
Release Date: 27 April 2018

Varèse Sarabande release a limited-edition (1500) box set of music from Jim Henson's The Storyteller. The collection features original music composed by Rachel Portman. The release also contains music from the spin-off series, Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Greek Myths as well as a 32-page booklet of exclusive interviews with the producers of the series and Portman herself, and a collection of behind-the-scenes photographs...

It's 30 years since Jim Henson's The Storyteller was originally broadcast (1987). The anthology series featured both human actors and creations from Jim Henson's Creature Shop in the retelling of classic folk tales, fables, and legends.

After all these years it's great that someone has finally managed to release Rachel Portman's music for The Storyteller. While this release will be welcomed by both Portman's fans as well as those that love beautiful scores, it really could have done with someone to go through it and order the music a little better.

This 3 disc (36 tracks - 2 hr, 59 min, 45 sec) collection feels like Portman sent over her entire collection of WAV files for the series and someone went through it randomly selecting tracks. There are too many music cues that are repeated with slight variations (most noticeable on 'The True Bride - Suite A', and others that just go nowhere. What this needed was an editor to take the music, rearrange it and edit some tracks together to make a more structured album. Even the track titles read like the composers own shorthand. This would have been the perfect project for Stephan Eicke at Caldera Records.

Having said that, a single album would have meant losing 2 hours of music... And, on balance, I think I'd rather have the option to go through the score myself and pick and choice which tracks make it onto my play list.

I can't nitpick too much as this is the first time the music has been released and to be honest it was wonderful to hear as much of it as possible.

The music hasn't dated at all, meaning that the show still has a wonderfully timeless feel to it. Although, there's a theme for the Hans My Hedgehog episode that's very similar to Nino Rota's theme to Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet (1968).

The album also incorporates the music from the spin-off series The Storyteller: Greek Myths, which to me was were some of the more intricate themes are located.

Whether you remember this series or not is irrelevant as Portman's music is beautifully crafted and works well on its own merits. Do yourself a favour and add this to your music library.


Darren Rea