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Mog’s Christmas

Four years ago my daughter was enchanted by the animated tv adaptation of Judith Kerr’s timeless children’s classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea and at Christmas 2023 the most-anticipated viewing in our house has been the same team’s adaptation of the same author’s 1976 book Mog’s Christmas, about a cat who gets scared and refuses to come back into the house for Christmas Day. David Arnold wrote a wonderful score for the earlier film and has done so again for Mog’s Christmas, in fact perhaps this one’s even better, the composer sprinkling a real dollop of Christmas magic into his delightful music.

It’s very much in the same vein as Tiger: a mix of orchestral delight with some up-tempo jazz and pop elements, based on an incredibly catchy main theme also heard in a song (this time it’s “As Long as I Belong”, lyrics by Don Black and vocals by Sophie Ellis-Bextor – it’s a real ear-worm). The two different melodies from the song both form the backbone of various tracks – I love “Meet Mog” as an example of the first and “Buying a Christmas Tree” the second – and various other great tunes crop up along the way, like the comic “Uncle and Aunties” and a great theme for when Mog is sad, heard best in “Mog on the Roof”. I don’t have a bad word to say about this – it’s music full of festive joy, absolutely perfect for the film for which it was written and it makes for a wonderful album that can be enjoyed by the whole family. While this sort of thing is perhaps not what the composer’s long-term fans wish he was doing, the fact is that movies like Independence Day don’t feature scores today as they did in 1996, and Arnold is absolutely great at doing these things. Hopefully by the time we are treated to another one in a few Christmases, my daughter will still be young enough to love it as much as she does this.

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