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Soundtrack Review

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The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials
Series Three


Composer: Lorne Balfe
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
SILED1702 (download)
Release Date: 02 December 2022

Silva Screen Records digitally release the third volume of The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials concept album as an introduction to His Dark Materials series three music, presenting the newly composed principal themes from series three. The music for the entire His Dark Materials Trilogy is composed by Lorne Balfe. In this introduction to the music from the television series, Balfe delves into the series and character themes from the final installment of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed trilogy...

The third installment of The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials builds well, and I'd argue is even more impressive (believe it or not) than the music for series 1 and 2.

Composer Lorne Balfe describes his score as "Elgar meets Nine Inch Nails" and recounts that: "The main thing that we wanted to do was to always have a clear journey of each character’s theme... I wrote their themes separately as a journey, so that we knew musically what would happen throughout the series... I love that slight steampunk feeling of the books where you don’t necessarily know the period or time that you’re in. There’s a mixture of technologies and it’s in the realm of fantasy very [much] like Harry Potter. I think that, to me, is what drew me into that world and the fact there are several worlds - you’ve got the present and the past".

The album contains 14 tracks (43 min, 21 sec) and I love how fleshed out the themes are. While I also thoroughly enjoy the soundtracks for the series, these Musical Anthologies really showcase the most important themes in a better rounded format so that soundtrack collectors can really savour the music as set pieces in their own right, rather than segments of music designed to fit set scenes in the show.

I had to double check, when listening to 'The Banished Angel' that I hadn't accidentally skipped onto a track from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR.

There isn't a wasted minute of music here. I particularly loved the album's closing 'Love Across Worlds', which is emotionally rewarding. If it doesn't touch your soul and bring you close to tears you probably need to check your pulse. Balfe knocks it out of the park once again.


Darren Rea

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