I would not say that I am a great fan of CHARMED, more like an occasional viewer, I sort of catch episodes here and there but the ones I have watched I have enjoyed, of course being into film and TV music I was conscious that the scores for the shows I had watched were pretty outstanding, and also I did think that they were quite rich and full of thematic material, which is a little rare nowadays for television, by this I mean that budgets at times do restrict what a composer can do as tight budgets obviously limit the amount of players etc that the composer can utilize. When I realized it was the work of J. Peter Robinson
it made sense. I first encountered the composer when I purchased his score for THE BELIEVERS way back on a VARESE SARABANDE long playing record, the score was quite percussive if I remember rightly, and there was one great stand out cue which I know I returned to many times. The music that the composer has written for CHARMED is very interesting, it is full of haunting little nuances that kind of chip away at the listener, these come in the form of an enchanting little piece entitled PRU THEME which opens the first disc, performed on guitar with gentle sounding synths giving underlying support throughout and creating an almost unworldly sound that is easy on the ear and also relaxes and soothes, it did for me at least in its opening statement evoke the sound that was achieved on the ALL THE PRETTY HORSES score, a kind of folk or country sound that is embellished by synths to create a haunting and pleasant composition. Track 2 on disc one, SNAKE CHARMED is ever so slightly different from the opening cue, although it does start out as a low key sounding piece that resembles the opening, but the mood of the music alters quite swiftly, and a tense and nervous atmosphere is created by the composer via the utilization of strings and a driving percussion, these are further elevated and heightened by the use of more strident and harsh sounding strings, synths also are added to the mix alongside brass to create a dramatic and fast paced piece, as the cue reaches its climax it melts away and returns to how it began softer sounding strings being used with support from synths. Track number 3,disc one, PRU AND LEO, is a love theme, it includes a version of PRU THEME and the composer expands upon this making it a richer and more fuller sounding piece, plus midway through the composition steps up a gear or so as the tempo is increased and more instrumentation is added to the proceedings, again the composer achieves a country feel with use of solo guitar throughout. Much of Robinsonís score contains synthetic elements, but the composer fuses these with more conventional instrumentation to create some wonderful and effecting compositions, he also creates a number of highly dramatic passages which come complete with choral support as in track number 4,disc one WATER DEMON SUITE which has a running time of nearly 8 minutes, richly dark and threatening in its overall sound this for me is just one of the many highlights of this two disc set. There are also a number of lighter moments within the score, when I say lighter I donít mean as in romantically laced, although yes there are those too, but there are a number of cues that have a kind of comedic sound to them an air of comedy a whisper of lightheartedness, I think this comes across in Track number 6, disc one DEMON SCHOOL, which opens with piano and moves swiftly into guitar and deliberate sounding pizzicato strings that punctuate proceedings and act as support to synthetic sounding strings. I love the way in which the composer combines synthetic and symphonic and also his use of percussion within the score. To do a track by track review would take an age, there are 68 cues on this two disc release, which runs for approx 145 minutes, all I can say is go out and get it, it is certainly well worth it, a rewarding release which comes packaged to the normal high standards of LA LA LAND RECORDS and also you have an added bonus in the form of Randall Larsonís excellent sleeve notes, recommended.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light