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Glory and Honour
  • Composed by Bruce Broughton
  • Intrada Signature Edition ISE 1042 / 2010 / 55:03

A 1998 tv movie about Robert Peary’s quest to be the first to find the North Pole, Glory and Honour touches on one of the more controversial aspects of the tale (though there are many more), which is his treatment of his black companion Matthew Henson.  It has been asserted that it was probably Henson and not the celebrated Peary who was first to set foot on the Pole; though there is doubt as to whether either of them made it at all.  For the purposes of this website, I don’t suppose it really matters.  What matters is Bruce Broughton’s music – which won him his fifth (of, so far, eight) Emmy.  While all the recent wealth of Broughton releases (almost exclusively Intrada limited editions) are welcome, this is the first in a while which presents Broughton doing what many of his fans love most – a big theme, handsome orchestrations, plenty of warm-hearted Americana.

The main theme is certainly the main ingredient here – and it’s a beauty.  Grand, rousing, triumphant – variations on it certainly take up a decent chunk of the score’s running time, but it never outstays its welcome.  One reason for this is that there is a wealth of other material here too – some of it necessarily darker (“Farther than Before” features a very effective feeling of helplessness and futility); some evocative of the breathtaking landscapes (“Trek to Fort Conger”); there’s even time for a little romance (“Matt Meets Lucy”) and one brief burst of ragtime!  It’s all delightful music and is well-served by Intrada’s album presentation.  By the time the tremendous reading of the main theme for the end titles is reached, the listener has been on a colourful and satisfying journey.  Highly recommended.  ****

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