on the Farm
by Christopher Coleman
Veteran score composer for television films and mini-series,
Richard Harvey, helps bring to life George Orwell’s classic novel,
Animal Farm. Cable Network
TNT’s presentation of this allegorical film, is first rate in many
ways. First, the film
voice talents of Kelsey Grammar, Julia Ormond, Patrick Stewart, and Peter
Ustinov, among others. Second, selecting
Richard Harvey as the films composer was also a wise choice as he most
adequately covers the gamut of emotions this film evokes: anger, lust,
victory, betrayal, satisfaction, determination., while helping
to cement the social messages of the story in the minds of the audience.
Orwell’s story is a parable of the rise of
the Communist Party in Russia. Consequently,
Harvey’s score reflects a Russian-militaristic image.
Harvey employs several professional
vocalists to sing determined, revolutionary lyrics.
At other times, this score is lively and even playful along the
lines of an animated children’s film.
Harvey successfully marries the two styles and produces an intriguing
listen for most film score fans.
The "Storm of Judgment"/Main Titles somewhat surprisingly
begins this Varese Sarabande release in strong military fashion.
It’s intensity certainly is attention grabbing and is evokes
instant reflections to a Trevor Jones score such as the Last of the
Mohicans. In this track
the main theme is introduced being played with a high degree of intensity
and passion. While the rest
of the score doesn’t quite live up to such a standard, it is;
nevertheless, quite entertaining. Track
4, Old Major’s Last Words, is a rousing vocal piece that is reprised at
the end of track 5, We Can Help Ourselves.
“Glorious Leader Napoleon,” (track 16) features the
vocal talents of Tim Whitnall and is crafted in style which combines the
militaristic with Russian folk. This vocal theme is given a great
finale-treatment in track 21, The Song of the Grateful Duck. The
military motif is further carried by track 11, The Big Battle, and
Snowball Banished. Such tracks build a good amount of tension
and worked well in this film adaptation.
significantly helps to round this score out are the pretty and playful
tracks. Among them are track 7, “At Last We
are Free,” track 9, The Harvest and the Flag. The most heartfelt rendition of the main theme is contained
in track 19, Boxer’s Fate as the orchestra, in particular the string
section, really gives an emotional performance of the theme.
The End Titles
are a bit of a surprise as well.
For what would be considered a dark subject matter for us capitalists,
Harvey chooses to end the film on a high, positive note and in so doing
produces the best track on the CD. For all of the
revolution, betrayal, abuse and assorted other dark-side attributes,
Harvey leaves us with a very upbeat and pleasing piece.
This track leaves us with some reminders of the wonderful
vocal work and the poignant main theme.
Sarabande seems to always do a good job in releasing scores from made-for-TV-films
such as Animal Farm, Alice in Wonderland, and others.
The recording here is above average and there is over one hour of music to