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Music from the Films of Johnny Depp
from Silva Screen Records

Music from the Films of Johnny Depp

Buy online

 Music from the Films of Johnny Depp (Soundtrack) from Silva Screen Records
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music from the Films of Johnny Depp (Soundtrack) by Silva Screen Records

Music from the Films of Johnny Depp
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Silva Screen Records (2009)

Rating: 8/10

Buy Music from the Films of Johnny Depp  (soundtrack) by Silva Screen Records from Amazon.com 


 

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“This new collection out from Silva Screen Records features some of the most best themes from JOHNNY DEPP's long-spanning film career...The immense diversity of themes presented in this anthology showcases the broad emotional spectrum DEPP has had to portray, from eerie to downright epic. ”

Listen Up, Me Hearties!
Review by Vince Chang

JOHNNY DEPP's acting career has always found him playing very unusual, eccentric characters, from his role as the random, witty Captain Jack Sparrow to his earlier roles, like the outcast Edward Scissorhands, who, according to DEPP himself, represents director TIM BURTON's frustration of not being able to communicate well in his teenage years. Regardless of the specific traits of his characters, DEPP usually infuses a lone rebel personality into them, which helps him stand out from the rest of the cast members.

This new collection out from Silva Screen Records features some of the most best themes from JOHNNY DEPP's long-spanning film career. The album features a select handful of themes spanning from NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) to SWEETNEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (2007), though not in chronological order. Unfortunately this release was in the works before DEPP's latest film, PUBLIC ENEMIES (directed by MICHAEL MANN) debuted, so it's not exactly an “up-to-date” release, but this only a minor issue. The immense diversity of themes presented in this anthology showcases the broad emotional spectrum DEPP has had to portray, from eerie to downright epic.

The Prague Philharmonic does an impeccable, spotless job in terms of performance; the sound is so crystal-clear that it sounds as if the listener were at a live concert in a large concert hall. I found the cleanliness of the strings to be a very strong point in terms of the timbre of their sound, which was very focused and resonant. Playing perfectly together, they really seemed like a small chamber group. Compared to some of the individual soundtrack releases, all the instrumental sections and solos seem to have more clarity and presence (1,3,5,7, 11) probably due to a larger stage and better recording technology. There was no credit to a specific conductor, but he did a great job controlling tempos and keeping the orchestra together at all times; there's no noticeable lag between orchestral sections.

The classic symphonic approach reigns king here in this release: themes are traded back and forth between sections of the orchestra, and there are short melodic solos that feature different orchestral instruments here and there (most prominently, cello). Some of the tracks also employ the use of wordless choir for an extra touch of “epic” quality. I found it quite pleasant to hear a number of solos from instruments that we never usually get to hear in film scores such as: the organ, theramin and celesta.

The opening track is a great starter: “Drink Up, Me Hearties”, from PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END. The accordion provides a whimsical introductory theme for a quiet string section, and then the latter gradually swells into a much fuller, beefy sound, punctuated by wordless choir and percussion. There's also great use of brief silence to mark off major transitions. I have the utmost respect for HANS ZIMMER for his ability to weave harmonically between major and minor modes, and using a wealth of different chords in between, touching on so many emotions in a single piece that it almost overwhelms the listener. At two-thirds through the track, the orchestra de-crescendos into a cello solo, which somehow seamlessly integrates with a melodic violin line that sweeps the entire ensemble back into full sonority. This part also showcases another one of HANS ZIMMER's talents, the ability to add layers of instrumental sections, each having independent melodic material, but lining up harmonically in a way that is lively and full, but by no means just filler harmonies for a single melody.

The Main Title for Sweeney Todd (Track 2) proved to be horrific theme, with suspense and an eeriness brought on by strings, organ, choir and low brass. Track 3, from PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST sounds a bit like the opening track, except with a slightly darker mood. It features solo cello as and again achieves dynamic contrast by the addition and subtraction of melodic layers. These first two PIRATES tracks specifically have an Irish / Scottish “jig” feeling to serve as a rhythmic backbone.

Despite this being a mostly orchestral album, there is a solo/duo piano track (5) included that is worth considerable mention, which is “The Piano Duet / Victor's Piano Solo”. It's actually two tracks spliced seamlessly into one, and the duet part only has a small portion where the two pianists are playing simultaneously. It's not in the same key the way it was presented in the movie, but still a great rendition. It's a good track, but it feels quite out of place in an orchestral album. Track 6, from “Finding Neverland”, is one of the more light-hearted tracks in the album, opening with a jovial piano intro, leading to a string theme that sounds quite mischievous. There's also a nice section where multiple wind instruments share a single melody, which I thought was quite cute. The following track is the darkest and most foreboding of the three PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN tracks included in this release, from the first of the trilogy. The Main Theme of Ed Wood (Track 10) features the theramin, an early Russian electronic instrument that sounds almost like a human voice. Naturally, this release wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of the Main Theme from Edward Scissorhands (Track 11), which makes use of the celesta for its signature sound.

The only piece of music that isn't original on this release is Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, featured in the movie Platoon (track 12). Using pre-composed hits can seem like a composer's cheat-sheet to milking emotion out of viewers and listeners, but it is a tried-and-true formula that works, for the most part. I've heard plenty of versions of this piece in other soundtracks before (LORENZO'S OIL, 1992), but there's just a certain indescribable “je nais se quoi” element to this recording. Perhaps it's the combination of the dynamics, pacing, and great mixing that gives an extra punch to the string section.  The album closes with the Main Theme from “Nightmare on Elm Street”, which is the only track that contains non-acoustic instruments such as synthesizers and keyboard. That made it seem out of place, even though the thematic material did fit in with the rest of the album.

No packaging or liner notes were included with this release as it was a digital edition, but I did receive a basic info sheet and cover image. The cover is very catchy; it features black borders, white and red text, and two skulls prominently centered, hinting at the PIRATES tracks, so you know you're in store for a great compilation. As of now, the only option for purchasing this soundtrack is digital download from Silva Screen's main site, or Amazon MP3.

The Bottom Line: The only potentially negative aspect might be that the variety of styles makes for a disjunct listening experience, if you're going to listen to the whole CD in one sitting. But even that “problem” was somewhat countered by the producers' well-thought-out choice of track ordering, as the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy has 3 tracks here, so we could say that a “piratey” theme is the theme of this release. Minor problems aside, for Johnny Depp fans who are also soundtrack buffs, this compilation will prove to be a keeper.

 

Rating: 8/10

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Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End - Drink Up, Me Hearties 4:38  *****
2 Sweeney Todd – Main Title 3:25  ***
3 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - Jack Sparrow 6:02  *****
4 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Main Title 3:39  ****
5 Corpse Bride – Victors Piano Solo 3:08  ****
6 Finding Neverland - Impossible Opening 3:41  ***
7 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl - The Black Pearl / Will and Elizabeth 4:21  ****
8 Chocolat – Main Theme 4:03  ***
9 Sleepy Hollow - End Credits 3:15  **
10 Ed Wood – Main Title 5:13  ***
11 Edward Scissorhands – Main Title /Ice Dance 5:32  ***
12 Platoon - Adagio For Strings 6:49  *****
13 A Nightmare On Elm Street 4:17  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 61 minutes  


 

 

 
   

 

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