Trevor Jones - The Dark Crystal (25th Anniversary Edition)
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Full Length Jewel Case CD
While THE DARK CRYSTAL also contains a noticeable employment of synthesizers, it is Jones' work played by the famed London Symphony Orchestra that has made this score one of his most beloved.
Two and a half decades ago, long before there was a Weta Workshop, long before the advent of 3-D animated films, Jim Henson and Company were among the masters of visual fantasy. Back in 1982, THE DARK CRYSTAL was as innovative as 300 or THE MATRIX might be considered today. Jim Henson's film was called the "first live action film without any humans on screen." While the visuals and style of story-telling of THE DARK CRYSTAL doesn't hold
up against many of today's fantasy films or animated features, the visionary spirit of Jim Henson and Frank Oz can still be appreciated. Their work has now been re-released on a new 25th anniversary DVD which has more features than the original, as well as better picture and sound. Preceding the release of the new DVD comes La-La Land Records corresponding release of THE DARK CRYSTAL 25TH ANNIVERSARY SOUNDTRACK.
What Trevor Jones' score for THE DARK CRYSTAL is most remembered for is its main theme, which serves as the backbone for most of the score. This main theme could be broken into two parts: one that represents the Dark Crystal itself and its caretakers, the malevolent Skekses and the other, a beautiful melody which forms the basis for a number of heroic secondary themes.
Trevor Jones fortifies the story by musically reiterating its main plot point, "What was sundered and undone, shall be whole, the two made one." This being a prophecy regarding both the Crystal and the two peoples of the Crystal, the Skekses and the Mystics. These two races came into being when the Crystal was inexplicably cracked. In the film, the Skekses are generally identified with the more ominous portion of the Crystal-theme as they are the ones who have been in control of it for 1000 years. The Skekses are tall and haughty as is their musical representation. The Mystics, on the other hand, are short and humble and their soft, somewhat monotonous theme reflects this. As the film concludes their two themes are unified just as the Skekses and Mystics are.
Aside from Jones' orchestral wizardry, he also employs an array of synthesizers, as well as instruments from antiquity, which give THE DARK CRYSTAL a certain depth and richness...albeit a dated depth, since the synths employed are unmistakeably from the late 70s/early 80s era. Interestingly, just like other fantasy films of the era: Willow (1988) or Return of the Jedi (1983), THE DARK CRYSTAL also features, what was apparently, an obligatory folksy-tune played on the indigenous instruments of some simple-folk of the film. Instead of dwarves or Ewoks, this time, we have "The Pod Dance" (7), which is played by the Pod people, of course.
Over the years, there have been a few LP releases of the score (for you youngins, that means "records"). There have also been bootleg CDs and then in 2003 a limited edition, 2-disc set was released which contained the very same tracks as offered here, but also a second disc that contained the cues as heard in the film.
In the end, La-La Land Records release of THE DARK CRYSTAL is one that will likely satisfy the collector who has been pining for Trevor Jones' detailed work. With sound quality that is superior to the 2003 Numenorian Records release and intriguing liner notes by Randall D. Larson, The 25th Anniversary Edition is a good buy, especially for enduring fans.
Jones does provide enough symphonic wonders to make the overall listening experience of THE DARK CRYSTAL a really positive one.
1 The Dark Crystal Overture
2 The Power Ceremony
3 The Storm
4 The Mystical Master Dies
5 The Funerals/Jen's Journey
6 The Skeksis' Funeral
7 The Pod Dance
8 Love Theme
9 Gelfling song
10 The Gelfling Ruins
11 The Landstrider Journey
12 The Great Conjunction