Shrek by (Soundtrack) by John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams



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Shrek by John Powell and
Harry Gregson-Williams


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Shrek by (Soundtrack) by John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams

Composed by John Powell & Harry Gregson-Williams
Varese Sarabande Records (2001)

Rating: 8/10

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Listen to this soundclip of ShrekFairytale

Listen to this soundclip of ShrekMarch of Farquuad

Listen to this soundclip of ShrekEscape from the Dragon

Listen to this soundclip of ShrekStarry Night

More clips from Shrek at


“For those who find the full bodied, never-know-what's-around-the-next-measure-sort of film music that both ANTZ and CHICKEN RUN so vigorously employ, SHREK will be nothing less than a pure delight. ”

Really Really
Review by Christopher Coleman

Conducted by Harry Gregson-Williams and Gavin Greenway
Orchestrations by John Bell, John Coleman, Elizabeth Finch, Bruce L. Fowler,
Walter Fowler, Ladd McIntosh, Yvonne S. Moriarty
Executive Producer: Robert Townson
Addition Music: James McKee Smith
Performed by Metro Voices (Choir)

Computer Graphic/Animated films came to a new place in the first year of the new millennium. Animating bugs and dinosaurs with the most sophisticated 3D software is one thing, but photo-realistic humans is quite another. Indeed the power of computer graphics have brought the animation genre of film to a new plateau - so much so that producers must "dial back" the degree of reality produced for some of the human characters. These are, afterall, still cartoons at heart! Along with Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, SHREK has played a key roll in the advancement of this budding division of film in the year 2001. But, no matter how complex visuals become, the unquantifiable element that film music contributes to a film will remain solely dependent upon the men and women who write and perform it.

This parody, this anti-fairy tale, SHREK, may have been the most surprisingly entertaining film of 2001. While the producers and animators of the film raised the bar for the visuals, they were smart enough to stick with one of best composing duos around to compose the film's score- John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams. The music (both the pop songs and the original score) in SHREK play a stronger role than it did in either ANTZ or CHICKEN RUN (not to say that the music in SHREK is "stronger" just the role that it plays in the film). While the score provides every needed drop of action or intense emotion, the pop songs utilized in the film keep levity and approachability close at hand. Together the score and pop songs musically mirror the character and attitude of the film much like the musical combination did in THE MATRIX.

The film music composed by Powell and Gregson-Williams is held up by two distinct themes: one representing Princess Fiona and with her the love story. The other main theme represents SHREK and the adventure story. Undoubtedly, it is these two themes that one comes away from the movie most effected by. It is likely that film music fans are most desirous of these two themes as well. The real treat is that, as engaging as these themes are, there is more to the music of SHREK.

Fiona's theme captures the fairy-tale, romantic element wonderfully and does in the unmistakable style of other John Powell crafted love-themes (Just Visiting, Evolution). The opening of the film and opening track feature an innocent but tantalizing performance of Fiona's theme, but aside from subtle variations of the theme being employed throughout the score, Fiona's theme makes its most impressive appearances in Dragon!/Fiona Awakens (11) and, of course, the unforgettable Singing Princess (19).

The climatic moments of the film are punctuated by Powell and Gregson-Williams memorable action theme or SHREK's theme. The audience first gets a hint of the theme in Donkey Meets Shrek (3) but is later treated to an earful in the first half of track 11, Dragon!/ Fiona Awakens, and again in Ride the Dragon (25). Musically restating the apparent differences between the princess and the ogre, Fiona's theme is soft and light while SHREK's theme is fast paced and aggressive.

With these two pillar-themes, it would be easy to miss some of the subtler motifs and sequences found on the soundtrack. One gem is found in the composers' depiction of the relationship between our lovable Ogre and chattering Donkey. Both track 4, Eating Alone, and track 18, Starry Night , feature a melancholy piece comprised of light percussions, acoustic guitars, cello, and mandolin. Although somewhat brief, pieces like this help to maintain an emotional connection with the audience and help to keep the soundtrack-listener involved in the experience. The same can be said regarding the "friends" motif, played primarily on guitar. This motif receives its fullest performance in Friends Journey to Duloc (17) - another memorable moment in the film and on the soundtrack. Successive listens of the soundtrack will certainly uncover many of the brief gems hidden within and further establishes both John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams as some of the most creative and entertaining film composers of the day.

With the average track duration hovering around a 1:45, SHREK, the soundtrack, flies by. Given the type of music that a film like SHREK demands, the ordering of the cues makes little difference. Still, the album's producers have chosen a good route and have listed the tracks in chronological order. Coming in at just over 44 minutes in total running time, it proves to be more than an adequate portion of score. The only two things that could improve the release would be to have a lengthy suite of the two main themes and some of the key secondary-themes and sequences - much like THE ROAD TO EL DORADO and to have reprised Fiona's theme to end the soundtrack. As it is, this soundtrack ends rather abruptly. This due to the exclusive use of pop tunes over the end credits. Varese Sarabande gives the liner notes exceptional treatment including notes from John Powell (see below), both co-directors, and lyrics to both clever diddies: Welcome to Duloc (8), and Merry Men (21). For such a popular film, it is nice to see the label go further with the included notes.

For those who find the full bodied, never-know-what's-around-the-next-measure-sort of film music that both Antz and Chicken Run so vigorously employ, SHREK will be nothing less than a pure delight. Standing alone the score is highly entertaining, but SHREK is a rarity, in that to fully recreate the essence of the film, both the original score and pop-studded original soundtrack are actually needed.

Rating: 8/10


From the Liner Notes:

SHREK was the third film that Harry and I scored together for Jeffrey Katzenberg and DreamWorks. so you'd think that it would be getting easier, wouldn't you? Whilst it was a wonderful film to work on (we could tell that from the first rough cut we saw), and whilst we were teamed up with a great group of people (some of whom we knew very well by then...the darling Marylata Jacob for one), SHREK was still, with all these advantages, a difficult project to do. At times Harry and I felt as if we were crossing the same rickety bridge that SHREK and Donkey crossed above the lake of fiery lava (but I can't reveal who was the frightened one). Making music for the is film required us to walk a thin line between sentiment and subversion, truthful emotion and sticky sap, comedy and action, fruits and nuts. But like SHREK and Donkey, we got to the other side and wondered what all the hollering had been about.


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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Fairytale 1:27  ****
2 Ogre Hunters / Fairytale Deathcamp 1:36  ***
3 Donkey Meets Shrek 2:38  ****
4 Eating Alone 1:18  ****
5 Uninvited Guests 2:09  ***
6 March of Farquuad 0:39  ****
7 The Perfect King 1:18  ***
8 Welcome to Duloc 0:34  ****
9 Tournament Speech :51  ***
10 What Kind of Quest 2:23  ****
11 Dragon! / Fiona Awakens 2:06  *****
12 One of A Kind Knight 1:19  ****
13 Saving Donkey’s Ass 0:43  ****
14 Escape from the Dragon 1:58  ****
15 Helmet Hair 2:08  ***
16 Delivery Boy Shrek / Making Camp ):48  ****
17 Friends Journey to Duloc 2:42  ****
18 Starry Night 0:58  ****
19 Singing Princess 1:36  ****
20 Better Out Than In / Sunflower / I’ll Tell Him 2:11  ****
21 Merry Men 0:43  ****
22 Fiona Kicks Ass ):29  ****
23 Fiona’s Secret 3:02  ***
24 Why Wait To Be Wed / You Thought Wrong 1:59  ****
25 Ride the Dragon 1:37  ****
26 I Object 1:51  ***
27 Transformation / The End 3:26  ****

Total Running Time





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