Geoff Zanelli has done a wonderful job with the score to Christopher Robin, crafting some very beautiful strings-based music as well as a simple but great main theme.
Christopher Robin is a very interesting score; being quite unlike most other albums I have reviewed before. I tend to stick to more action-based music or films/TV that are aimed for an older audience, but I decided to make an exception for this one. Since it’s release yesterday there has been a great deal of discussion around Zanelli’s score, with many singing it’s praises. With that in one hand and some sample tracks in the other, I decided to give the score a chance. In hinesight, I am so glad I did.
The album opens with Storybook, and right off the bat Zanelli gives you a great idea of the overall tone to the score. The music starts out in an upbeat strings-based manner, with some loose percussion in the background. After a few seconds, he then breaks the piano out for the first rendition of his nine note main theme. Like much of the score the theme is very happy and upbeat but has the potential to represent most emotions (by being faster, slower etc.) like all good main themes should. The track overall is very child-like but contains a hint of something more, and it’s that that kept me listening.
I Would Have Liked It To Go On For A Little While Longer (what a track name!) starts out slower, being a little more melancholic before breaking out the main theme in a similar piano rendition to Storybook. The music begins to pick up here, and after a few seconds Zanelli breaks out the percussion and strings for a truly beautiful-sounding melody that sadly doesn’t last long at all. This melody very nearly made this track the Standout Cue, and had it just been a tad longer I think it would have been.
The next track on the album is a very interesting one. Like much of the score so far, Chapters begins with a short piano playthrough of the main theme before gradually growing with a piano and percussion combo for a few minutes. Zanelli then surprisingly breaks out vocals with a backing of strings to create yet another very charming and relaxing melody that does a fantastic job of letting you know just how special this score is. My only criticism would be that like the previous track this marvellous new melody lasts for only a few seconds, and it should have been a lot longer.
Train Station is a very different track, being very fast-paced and very strings heavy right at the beginning. Here Zanelli introduces another theme to the listener, this being a much faster and more frantic one than previous compositions. This ten note piece makes for a much more action-based track (my territory!) but overall isn’t anything massively special. The composer really shines in the slower and more emotional moments in Christopher Robin, and Train Station proves that. It’s not bad action music, just not really anything special.
Is It Christopher Robin initially continues the action and even brings drums in for backing, but this stops as quickly as it arrived. After a minute Zanelli returns to the slower and softer side of Christopher Robin, and there is a noticeable improvement immediately. The composer breaks out the brass for a powerful musical moment and even calls in a few strings-based notes of the main theme. Like much of the album however this doesn’t last for very long, as the brass disappears and the track ends.
Woodwinds open Expotition To London, with a recorder playing a rather melancholic melody before strings begin to take over. The pace starts to build and percussion starts to appear as the music rises. This softer and more hopeful action-based track is decidedly better than Train Station, as Zanelli appears to be more in his territory here. The listener is then treated to another rendition of the main theme via strings before the track draws to a close. This isn’t the end of the action however as it continues through to a few seconds into A Father Of Very Little Brain before slowing back down. Strings feature heavily in this rather emotional track, which does a great job of building up to the Standout Cue of the album; My Favourite Day.
This piece starts out slowly, with a short melody being played on piano that slowly builds up into strings. This track has a heavy air of finale about it, and Zanelli keeps this building right up until towards the end. The music build up until the composer breaks out some fantastic-sounding rumbling drums in combination with some very powerful strings. This and another great rendition of the now amazing main theme make for a very tear-jerking track, right up until it comes to an end in a very fade-to-black style. My Favourite Day is easily the Standout Cue of the score, being just an emotional masterpiece all round.
Overall, Geoff Zanelli’s score to Christopher Robin is very good. It sounds fantastic just with the expertly combined strings, woodwinds and percussion. The main theme, despite being rather simple is powerful and very effective in the more emotional moments in the score where it needs to be. My biggest criticism of the album would be that there are a lot of empty and ambient-sounding musical moments along with the standout ones, which is why there are only a handful of tracks reviewed here (them being the only good ones). However, the standout cues really do stand apart as amazing, and with this it is clear that we have a very special and rather beautiful score with Christopher Robin.
Standout Cue: 22. My Favourite Day