Monday, 2 December 2013

Review: Walt Disney Animations "Frozen" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Available today, December 2nd, the Frozen Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features eight original songs from Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In TransitWinnie the Pooh) and Tony® Award-winning songwriter Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon), plus a phenomenal score by the composer of last year’s Oscar®-winning short Paperman, Christophe Beck.  The original motion picture soundtrack also features the end-credit recording of "Let It Go" by Demi Lovato.

Directed by Chris Buck (Tarzan, Surf's Up) and Jennifer Lee (screenwriter, Wreck-It Ralph), who also wrote the screenplay, and produced by Peter Del Vecho, Frozen hits cinemas in the UK on Friday, 6th December.  And judging by the fantastic musical-worthy songs on the album, and all the hype we've heard, it's going to be amazing!

Frozen is the latest film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, a stunning big-screen comedy adventure.  Fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter.  Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

The Music

According to Del Vecho, the original music adds to both the emotional story and the humour within this high-action comedy adventure, an engaging film full of compelling characters.  Like all good musicals, the music elevates and propels the storytelling, rather than being simple add-ons.  The songwriters Kristen and Bobby were heavily involved in the making of the film, and participated in the creation of the story.  A daily two hour video conference kept everyone involved whilst the plot was being created, with lengthy discussions about the characters: who they are, how they think, what they want.  This has helped each song to enhance and expand the characters and their story in a way that fully engages the audience in this imagined world.

According to Lopez, the defining moment for the film's music was the power ballad epic "Let It Go", a song written early in the process.  "That was our lynchpin," he said. "We wanted to write the biggest, beltiest diva number we could channel because we knew we had Idina Menzel—who just knocks it out of the park—and we knew her character Elsa was experiencing something epic in her life."

The song resonated with the filmmakers, so well, in fact, that it made them rethink scenes leading up to that epic moment. "'Let It Go' was the first song that we all knew belonged in the film because it helped shape Elsa's character," said Lee. "It delivers such a poignant and powerful message about how she's feeling that we needed to back up and earn that song—to show how she finds herself in that place at that time."

Platinum-selling recording artist Demi Lovato (“DEMI”) recorded a version of the song for the end credits, which is available today on iTunes. “It’s so relatable,” said Lovato of the song. “Elsa is finding her identity; she’s growing into who she is and she's finally accepting her own strength and magical powers. Instead of hiding it, like she’s done all her life, she’s letting it go and embracing it.”

Lara has been enchanted by this soundtrack from first play, and now can't wait to see the film.  My only criticism would be that all the songs are at the beginning of the album, with a lot of tracks from the score after it.  We tend to skip through this bit and just listen to the first 10 tracks, which is a shame.  I would have either preferred all the tracks, including the instrumental parts, to have been listed in chronological order, or to only have the 10 songs on the CD.  Either way would have made things a lot easier for me in the car where we play this disc.

An Inspired Score

Having said that, the score is wonderful, with renowned composer Christophe Beck providing some perfect atmospheric music for the story, including use of regional instruments such as the haunting bukkehorn and vocal techniques like kulning, which is a traditional shepherd’s herding call, to add to the Nordic feel.  Using the setting to draw from, including some incredible icy snowy vistas, he has matched the mood perfectly.

“The people at Disney really value music,” said Beck. “And in animation, versus live action, the music is really integral to the storytelling—it does some of the heavy lifting when it comes to communicating the emotion.”

Filmmakers recruited a Norwegian linguist to help with the lyrics for an Old Norse song written for Elsa’s coronation. And the team even travelled to Norway to record the all-female choir Cantus for a piece inspired by traditional Norwegian music. The score, which was recorded by a full 80-piece orchestra, features 32 vocalists—including native Norwegian Christine Hals, whose rural upbringing inspired her kulning skills.

Cool Soundtrack

The “Frozen” soundtrack, set for release from Walt Disney Records on Dec. 2, 2013, is available for pre-order. The “Frozen” two-disc deluxe edition and the digital deluxe edition soundtrack, which are also available on the same date, feature 23 and 27 additional tracks respectively, including demos, outtakes and a “Let It Go” instrumental karaoke track.

The “Frozen” original motion picture soundtrack listing is:

1. “Frozen” Heart Performed by Cast
2. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” Performed by Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn and Katie Lopez
3. "For the First Time in Forever” Performed by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel
4. “Love Is an Open Door” Performed by Kristen Bell and Santino Fontana
5. "Let It Go” Performed by Idina Menzel
6. "Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People” Performed by Jonathan Groff
7. "In Summer” Performed by Josh Gad
8. “For the First Time in Forever” (Reprise) Performed by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel
9. “Fixer Upper” Performed by Maia Wilson and Cast
10. “Let It Go” (Demi Lovato Version) Performed by Demi Lovato
11. Vuelie (Featuring Cantus) Score
12. Elsa and Anna Score
13. The Trolls Score
14. Coronation Day Score
15. Heimr Àrnadalr Score
16. Winter’s Waltz Score
17. Sorcery Score
18. Royal Pursuit Score
19. Onward and Upward Score
20. Wolves Score
21. The North Mountain Score
22. We Were So Close Score
23. Marshmallow Attack! Score
24. Conceal, Don’t Feel Score
25. Only An Act of True Love Score
26. Summit Siege Score
27. Return to Arendelle Score
28. Treason Score
29. Some People Are Worth Melting For Score
30. Whiteout Score
31. The Great Thaw (Vuelie Reprise) Score
32. Epilogue Score

You can get the ‘Frozen’ Official Soundtrack here from today.

The FROZEN two-disc deluxe edition and the digital deluxe edition soundtrack feature 23 and 27 additional tracks respectively, including demos, outtakes and a Let It Go instrumental karaoke track.

‘FROZEN’ The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is available from 2nd December from Walt Disney Records.

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