Starting off with a lone, delicate violin,
the bittersweet motif is set, opening the score to Black Beauty with the
unparalleled passion of Danny Elfman. This score is his masterpiece of
beauty; perhaps the best Elfman score to date. Prior to listening to the
soundtrack, prepare yourself for the emotional roller coaster you are
about to ride. The two extreme emotions interwoven throughout brings your
spirit through the wringer, happy and excited one minute, then dropped
completely to a deep longing which pulls at your soul the next.
This score, if one is not familiar with
all of Elfman's diverse styles, may not be instantly recognizable as his.
It is far different from the driving force in Batman, the whimsical and
spooky sounds found in Mars Attack and Men In Black and has little of
the surrealness in Edward Scissorhands; however, the flavour of the music
still has classic Elfman characteristics to it.
For example, the vastness of emotions he
wakens within is classical Elfman. He has a tendency to play with emotions
as if they were instruments in themselves. The breadth of the score encompasses
so many different sensations that you feel as though you are a channel
for the musical energy he creates. Danny Elfman has a habit of pulling
listeners completely into the music in this manner. This is seen in Baby
Beauty, track two on the disk, where he recreates the feeling of sweet
curiosity, an emotion which is intangible at the best of times. Even if
you have not seen the movie, you can feel there is exploration and discovery
in the music.
The music found both in the Main Credits
and End Credits is extremely moving. The music swells with a deep longing,
an intense feeling of nostalgia. It is wistful, melancholy, romantic and,
simply put, beautiful. It truly shows Elfman is one of the most diverse
and able composer of our time.
The one downfall of this soundtrack is the
length, with a playing time of just over 45 minutes. The tracks themselves
seem really short. If played continually, there seems to be an almost
constant flow. But, this does not help if you want to listen to one or
two of your favourite tracks repeatedly. Here you feel the songs are cut
short. This is especially true with one of my favourite pieces, Jump For
Joy, which is but a minute long. This piece builds beautifully and grandly,
but with the length (or lack thereof) the song is anti-climatic; it just
stops. I realize the shortness of the tracks isn't his fault. There are
certain limitations when working with film that he has to be confined
to, but it is still somewhat disappointing.
With that said, I would still recommend
owning this soundtrack, though I know from personal effort it is hard
to get ahold of. It paints a colourful canvas of feelings and is the most
beautiful score I've heard.
Rating: * * * *