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  • Composed by Matthijs Kieboom
  • MovieScore Media / 64m

A Dutch nature documentary, Wild follows the life cycle of some animals living in the woods in the enormous Veluwe park in the country.  Many species inhabit the area but the film chooses to focus on three: deer, foxes and wild boar.  (The film may take place over a year but I doubt the filmmakers took quite that long coming up with its title.)  

Providing the score is the young Dutch composer Matthijs Kieboom.  This strand of documentary has inspired numerous fine scores over the years.  While George Fenton’s great opuses for the BBC remain the gold standard, several other composers have brought their own A-game to natural history tv and film.  It’s easy to see why they might be so inspired – I watch many of these things and sit in constant awe and wonder – and pleasingly, Kieboom has provided another very strong entry in the genre.

Matthijs Kieboom

Undoubtedly the score’s highlight is its outstanding main theme, introduced in the sweeping opening cue “The Veluwe” – the track’s folksy opening is a bit misleading because before long the theme is soaring away magnificently.  It actually reminds me of the sort of joyful exuberance associated with one of those family fantasy films of the 1980s.  The composer uses it mostly as a kind of connective tissue between different segments and it’s wonderful whenever it appears, particularly its rapturous end title arrangement.

Kieboom himself says that he aimed to give each of the three featured species their own unique sound.  “The Wild Boar” is quite playful – pleasingly not the sort of clichéd tuba music you might expect, it’s actually much gentler but with a definite cheeky side thanks to a marimba solo.  The deer by contrast get graceful, elegant music (“Antlers Dance” my favourite); the fox, something slightly more sinister.

As well as different sounds for the different animals, Kieboom also gave each of the four seasons their own timbre.  There are four tracks called “A Change of Seasons” (subtitled with the name of the new one) – these are wonderful variants on the score’s main theme, getting notably warmer and then colder as they progress.  Also of note are various standalone cues – “New Life” is a real beauty, full of all the optimism you might expect; “Fishing” is delightful, soothing, an oasis of calm; “The First Flight” begins with a really lovely variation on the main theme before progressing to some very beautiful musical leaps of joy; “Hatching Eggs and Leaving the Nest” features some vividly expressionistic writing for the winds.  It’s not all fun and games of course and there is some drama to be found in the search for food, in particular in two cues – spaced widely apart – called “The Hunt”, the second of which features some thunderous action music.  “Lucanus Cervus” is a very dark piece of action drama with bold, brassy writing that’s very impressive.

Wild is a truly delightful score bound to appeal to fans of this very rich vein of orchestral scoring.  In particular, if you enjoyed Panu Aaltio’s two nature documentary scores (Tale of a Forest and Tale of a Lake, both also released by MovieScore Media) then I think you will be fully on board.  I’ve not encounter Matthijs Kieboom’s music before but will certainly be on the lookout for more from him in future – he’s clearly a very talented young composer who should go far.

Rating: ****

See also:
Tale of a Forest Panu Aaltio
Tale of a Lake Panu Aaltio | |

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  1. Momo (Reply) on Sunday 1 April, 2018 at 10:15

    I LOVE these nature documentary scores! I think you would also enjoy Earth: One Amazing Day, if you haven’t already heard it.