Saturday Soundtrack #1 – Pan’s Labyrinth

Beginning today, I’ll post a “Saturday Soundtrack” (SSt) each week. I’m NOT going to be including sound bytes. I’ll assume you know how to find those if you want them.

I’ve long held the opinion that soundtrack music is much akin to classical music for our times. I believe a film score should stand alone, not depend on the visuals for coherence. Though music and picture enhance each other – and the film might well be diminished without the music – the music should be a whole, and the listener should be able to enjoy it without having seen the film.

By “soundtrack”, I mean original music composed for film, television or other media. I won’t be featuring CDs comprised of separate songs or tunes written and performed by various people, such as music from a motion picture that’s a collection of a dozen rock songs.

Pan’s Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth CD cvr sml

music by Javier Navarrette. performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic, Klemens conducting. Milan CD M2-36190

As you would expect if you happened to see this film by Guillermo Del Toro, the music is moody, thoughtful, emotional. The album begins with the lullaby, which was the starting place for the filmmaker and composer when creating their collaboration. In the liner notes, Navarrete says “Del Toro’s visual and spiritual world demands innocence, drama and compassion, and that’s what I tried to give, in musical terms, to this film.

He succeeds.

Guillermo del Toro says “Contained within this CD are all the recorded score pieces, including those that were discarded. The aural landscape of this film, the voice Javier [Navarrete] gave this movie, is so enthralling that I urge you to listen to it in a darkened room and deam of a fairy tale of your own. After all, in the dark you may feel like a child again.

This is a CD that rewards repeated – and careful – listening, not something that can be said of all soundtracks. The music is beautiful and evocative, though evocative of what will be up to your imagination.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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5 Responses to Saturday Soundtrack #1 – Pan’s Labyrinth

  1. I love your idea of SOUNDTRACK SATURDAYS, Rick! I don’t own all that many soundtracks, so I’ll be eager to see what you post each week. Are there 52 good soundtracks out there? I ordered the other soundtrack you recommended: THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING. Hasn’t arrived yet.

    – – I think there are that many, George. Think about it: just about every motion picture has a soundtrack CD associated with it, plus many television series, especially from PBS, plus there are albums associated with other media, and collections of composers’ film work. Yep, there’s plenty. Stay tuned. -R.

  2. Patti Abbott says:

    I wish my library would buy more soundtracks. It’s not something I want to buy until I hear it first. Often, I barely notice music in movies I am so focused on plot.

    – – I agree, Patti, that sometimes buying a soundtrack is like buying a pig in a poke, but you have to know two things to help with the decision making, if you can’t listen first: 1) what kind of soundtrack music do you like? and 2) Are there any film score composers you like? You can often hear clips from soundtracks on music label sites and music download sites (Amazon is pretty good for that). That gives you an idea. A lot of soundtracks these days are full of a lot of Boom! boom, boom!, thundering brass and percussion. The soundtrack to the last Batman film is an example. Also, it’s likely the soundtrack to films of, say, Jane Austin novels will have very different music from the latest X-Men extravaganza. They all have their place, but everyone won’t like it all.
    Perhaps, after you read a few of my Saturday Soundtrack reviews, you’ll try one. Perhaps go back and read my review of GIRL WITH PEARL EARRING (September 2nd) and try that one, to see if you like it. -R.

  3. Richard says:

    Besides, Patti… would I lead you astray? Of course not.

  4. Carl V. says:

    This is yet another soundtrack that I really need to own. I love Pan’s Labyrinth and the music in the film was so perfectly constructed. Have you ever watched the Charlie Rose interview on two disc DVD version? It makes my heart glow every time seeing the passion these film makers have for telling stories.

  5. Richard says:

    Looks like someone is going back through the archives…

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