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Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: Music From The Motion Picture Picture
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Edition]
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an all new adventure returning us to the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling. Featured on the picture disc are two early recordings by James Newton Howard that helped shape the musical vision for the film. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, Newt Scamander might have come and gone without incident... were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds. The 12 inch Picture Disc LP also features artwork from the film and is packaged in a clear plastic sleeve.
- Product Dimensions : 12.2 x 0.2 x 12.2 inches; 6.35 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Watertower Music
- Original Release Date : 2016
- Date First Available : January 1, 2001
- Label : Watertower Music
- ASIN : B01LYKJ3UZ
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #171,760 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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The thing about Howard is that he isn't just some clever arranger who can clothe a theme in various styles but is able to get deep inside each and come out with music that is original and full of the spirit of the music. Soundtrack collectors are used to soundtracks of one or two themes and know this is a valid approach if the only intent is to give a film a signature tune. But in Fantastic Beasts, Howard has gone all out and created a score with multiple major themes, variants of themes and little momentary diversions and flights of fancy that show an endless wealth of invention. There's eerie music with a wordless children's chorus and a ragtime tune which is derived from the eerie theme. There's music of high adventure and action and music of darkness underlined by deep, rumbling bass notes.
There is some inspiration from his earlier scores. Peter Pan comes to mind with its use of harp and celeste with wordless vocals, both prominent here as key signifiers of magic. Wyatt Earp surprisingly comes to mind, not for its thematic material, of course, but the way he uses an orchestra to create really big music; not necessarily loud but big in its suggestion of vast spaces in this case of the magical realm and not the American West. There are some excellent minor themes as well. A jaunty melody with an English folk song air to it is used to indicate Newt's origins but would be at home in a Jane Austen film as well. At times the music takes off in a furious almost Slavonic way such as in The Demiguise and the Occamy where it is reminiscent of Franz Waxman's music for Taras Bulba. The score is also mindful to its setting and includes music that recalls the Twenties with jazz emerging out of ragtime with a theme that begins like a jaunty rag before slipping into a Cab Calloway kind of sound. Track 15, "Relieve Him of His Wand" etc. is a stunning tour de force of orchestral composition.
The producers of the disc (including James Newton Howard) wisely combined cues to prevent the choppy effect that separating every cue on a soundtrack album can create. They also cleverly arranged the two discs to make the first disc into a 75-minute long symphonic suite that is a pleasure to listen to. On the second disc with 25-minutes of bonus material you get any music that may have distracted from the experience of the first disc. This includes repetitious themes, some of the really creepy music and Blind Pig, the song by Australian singer Emmi (it's really good, but a sudden pop song would interrupt the orchestral flow of the first disc). One of the nicest tracks in the score ends it all, Kowalski's Rag, an extended take on the ragtime and jazz themes of the film.
The booklet lists an incredible 166 musicians on this soundtrack. It's unclear if they were all assembled as an orchestra at one time or if this represents different people playing at different times. If this is a single orchestra it's one of the largest assembled for any soundtrack .Mahler would have only dreamed of such an orchestra. The usual Hollywood soundtrack was played by 50 to 100 musicians ans soundtrack LP's were made later with about 30 musicians. Also, this does not include the jazz band or electronic effects. The booklet beautifully gives credit to everyone involved in this score, a well-earned tribute. Even if the orchestra was less than all 166 musicians, it is a very large and talented group.
James Newton Howard had been a session musician and had been a pianist and string arranger for Elton John's tour band for a number of years before taking up film scores. He has been nominated for an Academy Award for six of his scores but has never won. I nope that this score will win it for him because it deserves it.
Update: I am returning the record for refund. Not worth it to keep a record you can’t listen too.
By Alicia on May 23, 2020
Update: I am returning the record for refund. Not worth it to keep a record you can’t listen too.
I'm familiar with Newton Howard's work, so I knew this soundtrack would be excellent, but it exceeded my expectations. It ranges from sweeping beauty to melancholy subtlety to playful and rollicking. I particularly love the track that introduces us to the Niffler and Jacob. I often hum Jacob's theme. Love the Roaring '20's feel of it.
We hear a few hints of Harry Potter-related themes, but I was pleased that this soundtrack really stands on its own. I've had it on a continuous loop in my car for some time. I was disappointed that it didn't receive a nomination for an Academy Award.
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Now onto the music! The "Main Titles" and "End Titles" are literally fantastic; there's a really wild note running through both of these tracks to illustrate the wild personalities of the beasts as well as Newt Scamander's own daring to bring a suitcase that's full of them into New York. It's also wonderful that some tracks contain separately titled pieces of music which all flow into each other to form one sequence, such as Track 2. "There Are Witches Among Us/The Bank/The Niffler", Track 3. "Tina Takes Newt In/Macusa Headquarters", Track 4."Pie or Strudel/Escaping Queenie and Tina's Place", Track 9."Tina and Newt Trial/Let's Get The Good Stuff Out/You're One Of Us Now/Swooping Evil", Track 13. "The Obscurus/Rooftop Chase" and Track 15. "Relieve Him Of His Wand/Newt Releases The Thunderbird/Jacob's Farewell". Of all of these, I particularly like Track 3., the music for "Macusa Headquarters" gives off a real sound of power and authority, just like "The Ministry Of Magic" on "The Order Of The Phoenix" Soundtrack, and both Tracks 9 and 15 pack an awesome punch with the longest running pieces of simply stunning music; Track 9 is quite wonderfully creepy and Track 15 is both epic and heartbreaking - I just love Jacob!
I just love Track 11. "The Demiguise and The Occamy", because after most of the serious sounding music it contains a beautifully sparkly, mystical tone, especially given that the two creatures in the title are quite mystical since the Demiguise can turn invisible and the Occamy can change it's size. I think it's also one of the most magical sounding pieces of music here that even hints at the fact that the Demiguise and the Occamy both come from Far Eastern countries.
It might only be me, but I just find Track 7. "The Erumpent" hilarious. Again, just like Track 11., it's got a steadfast sparkly note, except it also sounds a little sensual, which, considering that Newt literally covers himself with the scent of a male Erumpent and pretends to be one to satisfy (and trick) the beast in the film, is just bizarre. I know this was made up, but it's simply because it's so bizarre and the music reminds me of it that I end up laughing. It's just a weird scene. I hope he doesn't do anything like this again in another film.
Track 12. "A Close Friend" is another of my favourites. The gentle notes just make it sound so touching, and it's particularly lovely that James Newton Howard didn't try to make it sound all macho since that just isn't Newt or Jacob's personality, or even every individual man's personality either. It really is testament to their similarly soft mannerisms which are in no way weird to see in a man in general, and their friendship. Newt isn't a typical hero in the way Harry Potter is, and Jacob isn't an overexcited geek like Colin Creevey. The music really illustrates just how deep their friendship goes. It's also nailed even harder at the end of Track 15. in "Jacob's Farewell" and as beautiful as the music sounds, it is also utterly sad; Jacob actually managed to acquire what he lacked as a Muggle/No-Maj among so many; a truly magical friend in Newt and a possible partner in Queenie and yet still had to say goodbye. It'll be lovely to get more music focusing on him on the next "Fantastic Beasts" Soundtrack.
The Bonus Tracks over on Disc 2, including "The Blind Pig" which I've already covered, are also fantastic. It starts with Track 1."A Man and His Beasts" which, just like the "Main Titles" and the "End Titles" contains a wonderfully wild note. Track 2. "Soup and Leaflets" explains itself; it covers exactly what Mary Lou Barebone is about in the charitable sense, as well as Track 5. "I'm Not Your Ma" which calls to mind the scene in which she snaps Modesty's toy wand and reveals her cold disapproval towards Credence and Modesty for wanting to be the magical people she is so determined to destroy; which is worse; Mary Lou Barebone, or the Dursleys? At least the Dursleys find and later know that they can't destroy Harry and don't go out on protest about witches or wizards either; maybe Dumbledore foresaw that they would probably be tempted to do so and the possible charm he may have placed on his letter to them prevented them from doing this, therefore saving Harry from being made a public disgrace and a sitting duck for Voldemort in Surrey. Mary Lou Barebone is much more detrimental to many more magical people throughout America, and means to be, and it's not difficult to visualize her at the head of a No-Maj army. Track 9., the "Kowalski Rag" is also cool since it continues the overall, old fashioned charm that defines Jacob Kowalski from "Jacob's Bakery" in Track 16. on Disc 1 as well as his own desire to make edible magic.
I know another reviewer has said that they don't like the CD packaging, but I'll agree to disagree. I think it's really cool. It's a gorgeous, dark brown in colour with gold detailing, both on the outside and inside, and the text on the back is also gold. The front cover with all four main characters on it is beautiful; Newt and Tina look great in their trench coats, while Jacob looks as serious as Tina and Queenie stands out as a vision in dusky pink. The main title is a stunning gunmetal silver. The images inside are also very bright and vivid. Also, when you take each of the CDs out, there are some cool looking, golden codes. The little digital leaflet is hidden behind the Macusa badge in a nifty square pocket, and it contains more images from the film.
All in all, this "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them" Deluxe Edition Soundtrack really is every bit as deluxe as the title suggests (which is perfect for film soundtrack collectors) and James Newton Howard was a fine choice of a composer for it; he makes a great difference to all of the "Harry Potter" composers, even while including John Williams's "Hedwig's Theme" in a couple of tracks to add a little childlike magic.The delivery was excellent and I received this item in very good time and condition. I'm very happy with it.