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Comments about the soundtrack for Snow White & the Huntsman (James Newton Howard)

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Fantastic and underrated treasure from JNH
• Posted by: Jouko Yli-Kiikka   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Saturday, January 18, 2014, at 4:24 a.m.
• IP Address:

I saw Snow White and the Huntsman in our local theatre and one of the definite highlights of the film was the original score written by James Newton Howard. The composer's scores have remained solid favourites of mine, and I have always appreciated the beautiful themes and strong underscore material of his compositions.

In many ways Snow White and the Huntsman represents all that I consider to be good in James Newton Howard's musical style. The score does have a very good main theme for the film's heroine, and JNH develops this theme in a wonderful way throughout the album. The theme is represented in full form at the beginning of the first track and it gets a grand and appropriately epic sounding variation at the very end of the score portion of the album. The other recurrent thematic element in the score is the ominously rising and falling motif for the villain, Ravenna, and it is first represented in the second track, "I'll Take Your Throne". It has grown on me as one of the best villain motifs in recent film scores, and JNH uses it well in the score.

There are musical highlights all over the score and in many ways the music sounds more classical than other JNH's scores. Just listen to the track "Journey to the Fenland" and you know what I mean. The calming melody is performed by a solo wind instrument, and I really love that sound. There are some very beautiful musical moments in such tracks as "Sanctuary", "White Hart" and "Death Favors No Man". The action tracks are also very well composed although most of the critics seem to strongly criticise them to be generic.

In conclusion I must admit the score for Snow White and the Huntsman has grown on me with several very careful listenings. Now I consider it possibly my new favourite James Newton Howard score that balances action, awe and beautiful moments in a very unique way. I like the fact it is a little quieter and in some places very subtle fantasy score, and with repeated listens you find new aspects that enhance the rich experience this score has to offer. Without a doubt this is a score composed with skill and heart and it definitely is a five star musical journey for me.


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