It’s been a few years since I have seen the name Robert Folk
on the cover of a CD or LP, I always used to enjoy his scores and thought after his score for NEVER ENDING STORY ll he would hit the big time like John Williams
or Jerry Goldsmith
, but alas I seemed to see his name less and less. His music was always of high quality and possessed a presence and stature that was epic. THERE BE DRAGONS is set against turbulent times in Spain during the period of the bloody civil war. The composer has fashioned a proud sounding score that is heroic and impressive with sweeping themes and hard hitting action cues that more or less blow you away with their forceful yet majestic sound. It is a score that includes many musical colours and moods and one that should be savoured like a fine wine. I may be wrong when I say this is Robert Folk
s come back score, as he probably has never really been away, but if it is his return to a more regular scoring schedule it is most welcome and is certainly going to make collectors, critics and film makers sit up and listen. Written for full orchestra with choir it is a driving and powerful work, which relies upon the utilization of the string section who work over time and are supported and augmented by brass, percussion and choir. The composer also adds little touches of solo guitar that weave amongst the orchestral compositions creating just the right atmosphere and adding authenticity to the work. A stand out cue for me is LOVE AND WAR FINALE, it is a mix of elements that we have heard within the score, its strong martial sounding beginning is heralded by dark sounding strings, brass and timpani, all of which evokes a mood and atmosphere that is sombre but also still proud and strident, the cue then melts into a touchingly beautiful passage performed on guitar which is enhanced by lilting woods which introduce an almost celestial sounding choir that is itself punctuated and embellished by strings, percussion and brass creating an emotive and enriching listening experience. Folk has produced a score that is heartrending, exciting, highly gracious and lush in its sound and style. This is not a good score, it is a great one.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light