With Ever After, George Fenton has proved that romance isn't dead and provided what is a decidedly old fashioned style score to what as ostensibly an updated telling of the story of Cinderella. Had the setting been totally contemporary, the film score would have been mostly about songs - witness the extensive use of songs in films such as Romeo + Juliet. There was a score, but it didn't have much of an impact. I don't mean to sound unkind in any way, but George Fenton is a man slightly out of his time; yes he can create scores using synths and with modern stylings, but his talents are best served when he can write the kind of epic or romantic music that John Barry writes less and less these days. However, I would surmise that the number of films that require this kind of heart on sleeve romance are fewer and further between. It is just lucky that director Andy Tennant wanted a traditional score rather than anything too progressive.
The main theme is not hugely grand, but has subdued grandeur while suggesting innocence and romance at the same time. Its use is sparing enough to not overstay its welcome, but often enough to establish its importance to the score. It is given the grandest treatment in the finale cue, Happily Ever After which rounds out the album in grand style. There are plenty of enjoyable vignettes, the occasional fanfare and flourish such as in The Girls, The Princes and the Painting which always helps to move the music along if the gently romantic sections are starting to sag a fraction.
The one submission to a more popular musical aesthesic is the inclusion of Texas' Put Your Arms Around Me (Autumn Breeze Mix - whatever that means). Not a particularly bad song and thankfully included at the end so as not to break up the textures of Fenton's music, but not exactly my cup of tea; the success of Texas as a group is honestly a bit of a mystery to me. Anyone who likes George Fenton at his sweeping and sentimental best will get a thrill from every minute of the score; almost every track contains something delightful to savour and with the off exception, hardly a minute of the disc is wasted. This is one of those scores where a composer's trademark style is hugely in evidence and so it could be compared with other similar works, but in this instance everything comes together ever better than usual. A hugely appealing score that is perhaps only slightly weakened by the very occasional cue that doesn't add a great deal. Still, highly recommended to every romantic and to warm the heart of every cynic (notably me).