CD: Music from the Twilight Saga (2012)

June 7, 2012 | By

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Rating: Very Good

Label: Silva Screen / Released: March 12, 2012

Tracks & Album Length: 25 tracks / (67:50)


Special Notes: 12-page colour booklet with liner notes..


Composer: Carter Burwell, Alexandre Desplat, Howard Shore




Unlike the Harry Potter franchise which seemed to establish clear style guidelines, the music of the Twilight Saga is more eclectic, affected by shifting instrumental designs through each of the current four parts. The one thing this theme & suites collection improves upon over the original score recordings is selecting the best cuts, as well as offering slightly different arrangements.

Carter Burwell’s involvement with Parts 1 and 4 gives this CD offering a thematic intro and recap between the more divergent efforts by Alexandre Desplat (Part 2) and Howard Shore (Part 3), but his instrumental palette for Part 1 bears more than striking similarities to his 1996 troubled youth thriller Fear, raising the issue as to whether the film was temp-tracked with the latter score prior to Burwell’s engagement.

Silva’s selections and arrangements are different enough to lessen the link, and although Part 1 doesn’t really add anything new to Burwell’s canon, his use of orchestra, percussion, and slight Latin influences (mostly via solo guitar) are very pleasing (monotonous “A Nova Vida” excepted). The cues in both Parts 1 and 4 are evocative of forbidden sexual yearnings in a traditional minded youth, and all the elements come to head in the finale which ends the CD on a orchestral cliffhanger.

Desplat’s take for Part 2 introduces a classic orchestral spin on a theme that’s harmonically similar to Burwell’s theme, and his lush cues (some of which glide between Phillip Glass minimalism) are sometimes emboldened with a pulsing, low & subtle electric bass, suggesting shifts in mood and character alliances, while the strings almost exclusively focus on romance in cues like “You’re Alive.” The use of piano also links his score to the first bars of Burwell’s theme (“Edward at Her Bed”), plus the solo piano version of Howard Shore’s own theme for Part 3 (“Compromise / Bella’s Theme”) which similarly nails the sensibility of youthful, naïve romance.

The problem with Shore’s score for Part 3, at least when the cues are placed side-by-side, is heavy repetition – this in spite of using extensive solo piano, and chamber strings. The largely mono-thematic design may focus attention solely on Bella, but the arrangements tend to hover within the same woe-is-me realm that becomes grating after a few reiterations. More dramatic cuts like “Bella’s Truck / Florida” and “Jasper” help, however.

Silva’s CD features great arrangements and strong performances of franchise highlights, and it may be the most appropriate sampling of the scores, given their flaws are magnified in their separate album length versions.



© 2012 Mark R. Hasan


External References:

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