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Once Upon a Forest (Soundtrack) by James Horner

Tracksounds Rating = 7 / 10

Once Upon a Forest (Soundtrack) by James Horner

Composed by James Horner
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra; 
Released by Varese Sarabande in 1993

Track Title Time


by Christopher Coleman

One of the best composers for full featured animation films is none other than James Horner.  He has several credits under his belt to prove it.   Once Upon a Forest is one of his best and becoming hard to get a hold of.  The Land Before Time seems to get the most accolades, but I must say that this one rivals it.  There are of course some similarities, but on this venture Horner and Will Jennings team up for one of their best vocal compositions.   The opening track and title song Once Upon a Time with Me is perfect for a children's animated film.  The New London Children's Choir provide the innocent feel while Florence Warner Jones utilizes her gorgeous voice to solidify the song.   This main theme is used repeatedly by Horner throughout the score in various forms: from  sweeping strings to the solo flute.  This CD contains a number of vocal tracks: Tracks one and two are the main theme, which are fine, but track 6 "Please Wake Up" performed by Michael Crawford and "He's Back" performed by Ben Vereen and the Andrae Crouch Singers on track 7 are not too hot.  I'm not a Michael Crawford fan and they should have just had Andrae Crouch sing the lead.  

This score bears a keen resemblance to A Far Off Place.  Since they were composed the same year, that isn't too shocking.   There is; however, one difference- that is the absence of the Shakuhachi on this score...which is fine  since it probably wouldn't fit too well with the film itself.  The more I listen to this score the more I appreciate the main theme, but there are also a good variety of suspense and action cuts as well (Track 4, 7)  There also some similarities to another Horner score for an animated film, The Pagemaster, especially in the use of the trumpet.

This is the best of the best of James Horner as far as his animated repetoire is concerned.   I highly recommend any Horner fan, serious or otherwise, to pick this puppy up and fast.  You won't be disappointed.  I paid $17 for it and, due to its quality, feel like I got it for free!


Once Upon a Time with Me


2 The Forest 9:11 ***
3 Cornelius's Nature Lesson 3:41 ***
4 The Accident 4:24 ***
5 Bedside Vigil 2:15 ***
6 Please Wake Up 2:36 **
7 The Journey Begins 8:08 **
8 He's Back 2:00 *
9 Flying 4:49 ***
10 Escaping from the Yellow Dragons/ The Meadow 6:36 ****
11 Flying Home to Michelle 6:32 **
12 The Children/ Maybe One Day...Maybe One Day 4:41 **
13 Once Upon a Time with Me/ End Credits 5:56 ***
  Total PlayingTime      



Film Continuity n/a  
Originality 7  
CD Length 7  
Track Order 6  
Performance 9  
Final Score 7  

Other reviews:

Written for a financially unsuccessful cartoon movie with an environmental theme, James Horner's Once Upon A Forest is probably the best and most beautiful animated score of his career to date. Rich, lush, and full of incredible sweeping themes, it's a wonderful, magical musical journey that encompasses many of Horner's different musical styles into one highly enjoyable album.*****

Jonathan Broxton - Movie Music U.K.

Composer James Horner

Once Upon a Forest (Soundtrack) by James Horner
There's isn't anything unique about this score. Horner's scores for animated films tend to sound the same, and this is no exception. But it's a great score nevertheless, and if you're lucky enough to find it at a decent prize, I suggest you grab it. ****

Andy Lindahl - Score!

CD available through

Once Upon a Forest (Soundtrack) by James Horner

All artwork from Once Upon a Forest is exclusive property of Fox Searhlight Records (c) 1995.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.

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