CD: Hugo (2011)

April 23, 2012 | By

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Rating: Excellent

Label: HOWE Records/ Released: November 22, 2011

Tracks & Album Length: 21 tracks / (67:42)

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Special Notes: 8-page colour booklet.

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Composer: Howard Shore

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Review:

Howard Shore’s Oscar-nominated fantasy score is filled with a rich balance of melody and buoyant atmosphere, and his central theme is one of his loveliest – a flowing melody with a slightly melancholic arch, and instrumentation often including a musette for romance, a piano for tenderness, and fiddle for slight tongue-in-cheek humour.

Set in 1930, Shore’s score has plenty of time to introduce his theme, establish mood variations and create a sense of mystique and yearning. Many cues are propelled by steady pulses or circular motifs tied to the rhythm of the story’s clocks.

The pensive introduction to “The Plan” (with its somewhat drunken percussion beats) also recalls a silent film montage, as does “A Ghost in the Station” which is a bit more action-oriented, yet within the score there are few big orchestral surges. Shore’s approach is to remain light, adding slightly darker colours with subtle instrumental changes, or a gradual build which often skips between moods, sudden pauses. The few ominous sounds are always tied to a child’s exaggerated perspective of what may lie in dark corners, and cause distorted moving shadows, and it’s his musical equivalent that makes Hugo such a bubbly work, written with exceptional detail and lightness.

Available from Shore’s own HOWE Records, the soundtrack album features more than an hour of music, and crisp engineering preserves the nuances of Shore’s orchestra, and featured instrumental soloists, plus the vocal theme version performed by Zaz.

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© 2012 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB Soundtrack AlbumComposer Filmography

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Category: Soundtrack Reviews

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