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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Album Cover Art
Original Cover
Alternate Cover
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:

Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Nicholas Dodd

Co-Produced by:
Geoff Foster
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Sony Music/Sony Classical
(December 7th, 2010)
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Regular U.S. release. Two variations of the cover art for the same score-only album existed immediately. Download options for the score include at least one pop song at the end; which one depends on your country.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you've wondered for over a decade about what happened to the glorious symphonic and choral fantasy sound of David Arnold's popular 1990's favorites in the genre; your wait is over.

Avoid it... if you do not have the patience to appreciate the intelligence that Arnold applies to all facets of this score, including the softer cues on a very long album that will leave some listeners scurrying for its dynamic opening and closing portions.
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WRITTEN 12/10/10
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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: (David Arnold) Oh, the woes of a franchise of religiously allegorical fantasy shunned by its original parents for not raking in enough dough. Much has been made about Disney's decision to abandon the series of adaptations of C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia," fearful that the third film couldn't turn a profit on a budget over $100 million. After many delays and creative differences, however, Disney finally relinquished rights to the continuation of the franchise to 20th Century Fox, an original possible suitor for the films, and production of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader commenced for a debut a year and a half behind schedule. The story on screen is faithful to the plot of the book. The protagonists, now-teenage children of the English Pevensie family, are once again transported into the whimsical world of Narnia through an object in their house. This time, a nasty younger cousin is along for the ride and they unite with now King Caspian from the previous story to set off on an adventure aboard the titular ship. Narnia is threatened by an evil island and the monsters unleashed from its realm of darkness, and Caspian fashions the first of the kingdom's ships so that he can collect seven swords for Aslan, the god-like lion that remains king of kings in the land. The production is expectedly cute, with the children effortlessly charming their way through their trials and the convenient talking mouse in a sidekick role. Reviews have been mixed because special effects are clearly the order of the day; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is meant as an escapist spectacle for the senses that can win crowds of families (and, of course, the Christians that made the first film a box office success) away from Disney's concurrent sequel to Tron. With the switch in studios came a new director and crew to accompany returning actors, and because Michael Apted took the job of helming The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, composer David Arnold followed. With success, Harry Gregson-Williams had provided scores to the previous two films in the franchise, both entertainingly melodic and exuding a broad sense of fantasy but both also less than ideal given the composer's choice to beef up the ambience of his symphonic music with electronics (did Aslan really need a power anthem?). When offered the assignment of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Arnold reportedly suggested that Gregson-Williams' be asked to return and reprise his own themes with likely similar results. Apted's confidence in Arnold, however, led to the British Bond-franchise anchor adapting portions of Gregson-Williams' material into a sweeping sequel score very much rendered in Arnold's own, distinctive blockbuster style.

Arnold has, ever since his sudden emergence in the mid-1990's with epic scores in his collaboration with Roland Emmerich, remained one of the darlings of the film music community. His tenure in the Bond franchise has only solidified that impression, his voice for the famous spy evolving and rebooting with impressive intelligence, especially in his merging of synthetic and organic tones. With that franchise once again mired by legal turmoil and thus paused, Arnold's fans have been without many major new feature film scores from the composer for several years. Aside from the Bond music and a handful of comedies and less notable ventures, you have to reach back to September 11th, 2001 as the ironic release date of The Musketeer, Arnold's previous large scale action work. Arnold has, in fact, been busy with other projects in recent years, among them producing a collaboration with Dame Shirley Bassey that yielded what many fans consider a frustratingly magnificent alternate title song for Quantum of Solace (a recording that truly cannot be missed for enthusiasts of that score). Understandably, expectations for Arnold's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader were sky high and, not surprisingly, some initial reactions (even in reviews) diminished his achievement for the franchise. On the contrary, while this score may not top the very best of 2010, it is certainly a powerhouse to contend with, a more complicated and richly orchestrated fantasy/adventure score than many give it credit for being. A long score-only album release for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (the Carrie Underwood song is only available separately, as are tons of different songs for the international offerings) has been criticized for failing to maintain interest in its less exciting middle passages. Comparisons to Gregson-Williams' music have also been inevitable. What listeners need here is a dose of perspective. How often do you get to hear Arnold flourish in mid-90's form? Or, for that matter, at all these days? While the album for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader could have used some better equalization of volume levels from track to track, it is still a marvelous 70+ minute presentation of a familiar, likeable orchestral sound that we simply don't hear anymore. Rearrange the cues if you must, but those who find no value in the less bombastic choral-cooing portions of the score simply haven't spent enough time appreciating the score's intricacies. What may sound like meandering filler material in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader actually contains a wealth of development of secondary thematic identities that do, in most cases, accomplish various tasks in the narrative. So for those of you complaining about too much of a good thing, despite the fact that the album really could have been boiled down to 45 minutes for the best casual perusal, ponder for a moment the alternative.

The most obvious difference between the Gregson-Williams and Arnold sounds in the franchise is the latter's abandonment of the electronic enhancements. Indeed, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a gloriously symphonic achievement, reaching swashbuckling heights and cranking up the adrenaline without requiring drum pads, bass boosts, and deep thumping. This development is something of a surprise given Arnold's affinity for applying a variety of such synthetic layers to his Bond music (appropriately, of course), but a welcome one. Along with 87 enthusiastic orchestral players are 40 singers applied in two different styles of performance: softly cooing and angrily chanting. A definite holdover from the Bond scores is the application of live percussion, with medium-range drums and mad cymbal-tapping often punctuating the action cues in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. On the whole, however, while there are a few snazzy trumpet lines (9:13 into "Into Battle") that will remind of the jazz in the Bond franchise, the score has much, much more in common with the sound of Independence Day and other Arnold scores of that generation. The usual Nicholas Dodd touch is present; the orchestrations he has used through the years to help define the Arnold fantasy sound are all intact here. During some of the grandiose combinations of full adult choir and orchestral majesty, you could be tricked into thinking you're hearing Independence Day instead. The issue of continuity with Gregson-Williams is handled primarily through the continuation of the existing theme for Aslan. There are times when the music for the children is reminiscent of the previous scores, especially in "Ship to Shore," but on the whole, the two clear references to the Aslan theme is the sum of what carries over. Even the instrumentation of those performances ("High King and Queen of Narnia" and "Aslan Appears") is significantly different, Arnold translating the idea out of its sometime over-wrought dramatic stance when heard with Gregson-Williams' instrumentation and affording it more regal orchestral tones in slow tempi. Aside from these references, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a fresh new musical direction for the franchise. Arnold did not skimp on the introduction of new themes, either. He has not been known to be the type of composer to write a dozen themes in a score and constantly mingle and manipulate them; instead, he tends to write a couple of really good overarching ideas and sprinkle them with solitary secondary ones. You get both in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, starting with two great, frequently referenced themes and a host of others for supporting concepts that form the kind of intriguing musical tapestry not typical to Arnold's career.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.79 Stars
***** 298 5 Stars
**** 237 4 Stars
*** 147 3 Stars
** 65 2 Stars
* 63 1 Stars
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LordoftheFuture - November 13, 2012, at 7:02 a.m.
1 comment  (989 views)
That "Godzilla" theme is not subtle at all.   Expand >>
hewhomustnotbenamed - December 26, 2010, at 11:13 a.m.
4 comments  (3020 views)
Newest: May 18, 2011, at 3:05 a.m. by
Why is it ...   Expand >>
GK - December 18, 2010, at 12:12 p.m.
4 comments  (2539 views)
Newest: December 28, 2010, at 12:17 p.m. by
Godzilla ressemblance...   Expand >>
JPRegulus - December 12, 2010, at 7:25 a.m.
3 comments  (2115 views)
Newest: December 17, 2010, at 3:58 p.m. by
Richard Kleiner
LOVED IT!   Expand >>
Jon Turner - December 11, 2010, at 7:25 p.m.
2 comments  (1911 views)
Newest: December 11, 2010, at 8:20 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 71:52
• 1. Opening Titles (1:07)
• 2. The Painting (2:28)
• 3. High King and Queen of Narnia (1:33)
• 4. Reepicheep (0:58)
• 5. Land Ahoy (1:43)
• 6. The Lone Island (1:51)
• 7. Lord Bern (1:01)
• 8. The Green Mist (1:16)
• 9. Market Forces (1:53)
• 10. 1st Sword (1:17)
• 11. Eustace on Deck (1:11)
• 12. Duel (1:45)
• 13. The Magician's Island (4:30)
• 14. Lucy and the Invisible Mansion (5:24)
• 15. Coriakin and the Map (2:58)
• 16. Temptation of Lucy (1:16)
• 17. Aslan Appears (0:49)
• 18. The Golden Cavern (2:04)
• 19. Temptation of Edmund (1:58)
• 20. Dragon's Treasure (2:53)
• 21. Dragon Attack (2:30)
• 22. Under the Stars (2:56)
• 23. Blue Star (1:04)
• 24. Aslan's Table (2:32)
• 25. Liliandil and Dark Island (1:30)
• 26. The Calm Before the Storm (1:49)
• 27. Into Battle (11:03)
• 28. Sweet Water (2:06)
• 29. Ship to Shore (3:52)
• 30. Time to Go Home (2:46)

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The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are Copyright © 2010, Sony Music/Sony Classical and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/10/10 (and not updated significantly since).
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