Latest reviews of new albums:
Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn
  • Composed by Robert Gulya
  • MovieScore Media / 2015 / 54m

The latest adaptation of Mark Twain’s great stories, Jo Kastner’s Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn struggled to find distribution and sat on the shelf for several years before finally appearing in cinemas in a small number of countries in 2014 and finally released online in America in 2015.  The score is by the Hungarian-born composer Robert Gulya and is very much in keeping with the rich musical style that has accompanied past productions of this and related stories.  His broad, expansive main theme is given a very good workout in the six-minute titular cue that opens the album (which I guess was written either especially for the album or is maybe actually the end titles).  It’s the sort of whimsical, fluid piece I can imagine Basil Poledouris having written, hints of Copland-via-Bernstein, it’s very warm and lovely.  It forms the backbone of the score, popping up numerous times and is always welcome, too.  In the second cue (the main title) it gets a choral accompaniment, making it even bigger.

The more lighthearted sections of the tale are accompanied by broad comedic strokes from Gulya, performed with gusto by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra.  Even the “funny music” somehow manages to avoid being cloying.  As the score enters its second half, the action/adventure material has a slightly more modern feel to it with the use of percussion and electronics, the choir becomes a little more Zimmerish, but that side is never overdone and stands alongside some other adventure music much more in the John Williams vein.  It’s a really solid, very entertaining score rich with Americana but a modern touch too – a very easy album to listen to, it doesn’t really break any new ground but it spreads some joy and is continually entertaining.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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