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Animal Farm by Richard Harvey

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

Animal Farm by Richard Harvey

Composed and Conducted by Richard Harvey
Orchestra Leader: David Woodcock; Chorus: Budapest Radio Choir
Released by Varese Sarabande December 1999

Track Title Time Rating Meanwhile...Down 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 bolsters the 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 track 12, Snowball Banished.  Such tracks build a good amount of tension and worked well in this film adaptation.

What 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. 

Varese 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 enjoy.   

1 "Storm of Judgment"/ Main Title 1:44 ****
2 "Dumb Animals..." 2:29 ***
3 Meeting in the Barn 2:05 ***
4 Old Major's Last Words/ "Beasts of the World" 2:51 ***
5 "We Can Help Ourselves" 3:33 ***
6 The Battle of the Barn 2:08 ****
7 "At Last We Were Free" 2:43 ****
8 In the House/ Commandments 3:20 ***
9 The Harvest and the Flag 2:59 ****
10 The Pigs Take Control 2:34 **
11 The Big Battle 5:45 ***
12 Snowball Banished 1:22 ***
13 "Long Live Animal Farm"/ The Windmill 4:15 ***
14 "Let Me Explain" 1:07 **
15 Jones Destroys the Windmill 2:03 ***
16 "Glorious Leader Napoleon!" - Squealer Song 2:30 ****
17 "All Hens are Criminals"/ The Pigs Get Drunk 2:14 ***
18 "Guilty!" 1:54 ***
19 Boxer's Fate 4:51 ****
20 "More Equal Than Others" 4:17 **
21 The Song of the Grateful Duck 2:25 ****
22 "We Were Never Free" 2:41 ****
23 End Titles 3:42 *****
  Total Playing Time 66:10    

Category

Score

 

Music Selection

8  

Themes/ Composition

7  

CD Length

9  

Track Order

9  

Performance

7  

Final Score

8  
         

Other reviews:

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Composer
Richard Harvey

Animal Farm by Richard Harvey

Purchase this CD at

Animal Farm by Richard Harvey

 

All artwork from Animal Farm is exclusive property of Varese Sarabande Records (c) 1999.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only.