I got this album on Tuesday from Amazon.com for their 7.99 sale price, so I’ve been listening to it album for a couple days now and I must say that I absolutely love it. Upon my first listen it didn’t strike me as amazing, but each subsequent listening, my fondness for this score grows exponentially. I can really hear Elfman’s more recent (musical) voice in this score that reminds one of Terminator Salvation, Wanted, and Hellboy II… but I can also hear his older voice; scores like Batman, and Sleepy Hollow.
The album opens with the track ‘Alice’s Theme’. Boy’s choir is heavily featured and reminds me a little bit of Harry Potter. The theme is quite beautiful, and it shares a small portion of it’s melody with the theme from Avatar (and when I say small, I mean a couple notes or a short 2-3 chord progression). The orchestration is very beautiful, and there is one part in particular that strikes me as truly magical. It’s at 3’43” and very hard to hear without headphones. It sounds like bass drum with timpani, and contra bass tenuto bowings, but it could easily be some kind of electronic sound that Elfman used to beef up this very sparse section.
Throughout the entire the score, the theme is really put through it’s paces and reused a bunch. It is really a lot of fun dissecting the variations and the different orchestrations that come and go, listening for the brass and the strings to take pieces of their orchestrations and mutate into other variants.
Mostly, the music for this album contains Alice’s theme in one form or another… in other words, not really many character themes. The track that stands out as the exception to this is “The Chesire Cat” which mostly contains a lot of extended technique as far as orchestration goes in the form of glissandos in the strings, vibes (bowed or otherwise), and choir.
After listening to this for the las couple days, I feel comfortable saying that it is currently my favorite Elfman score (at least until I get sick of it from overexposure).
Have you heard it yet? What do you think?