This I have to say straight away is a wonderful score, each time I hear a new work from James Newton Howard I think ďThatís his bestĒ. Then along comes another and I say the same thing, this is because he is probably one of the most consistently good composers that is working in film today. SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is a real blockbusting action packed movie and Newton Howard has produced a score that matches the action supremely. The soundtrack also contains some of the most emotive and heartrending compositions that I have heard in a long while. The composer creating magical and mysterious themes which enthral and excite the listener. The opening track, SNOW WHITE begins with a faraway and lonely sounding horn which plaintively but effectively establishes an atmosphere of solitude, this all to brief introduction melts away and is replaced by sparingly utilized piano laced with a shimmering sound that creates a magical atmosphere alongside fleeting interludes from violin that are underlined by darker sounding strings which infuse a more ominous sound into the composition. But we still hear the more emotive and melancholy sounding theme that eventually rises above the darker elements bringing poignancy and light back into the piece. The composer utilizing warm sounding strings, woods and horn to further establish the theme. Track number 2, IíLL TAKE YOUR THRONE, is a more threatening and powerfully urgent piece the composer combining symphonic and electronic to create a threatening and tension filled composition the emphasise being put upon the utilization of snarling brass which is supported and augmented by booming percussion and authoritative sounding strings, the cue does subside part way through and is handed to less aggressive strings which take the cue to its conclusion. Track three TOWER PRAYERS, includes a particularly unsettling beginning which is a one note motif being repeated at roughly 5 second intervals this is joined by a lonely sounding woodwind that in turn gives way to delicately placed piano underlined by strings which are sinewy in their sound plus the composer subtly adds to the mix a low percussive element that creates an overall atmosphere of unease. For me track number eleven is the highlight of the score THE WHITE HART is a delicate and emotive piece, strings underline solo piano and an almost shimmering effect these segue into a delightful and heart felt violin solo which is supported by the string section and punctuated with woodwind, a horn is added which conjures up a feeling of security and brings much to the composition, the string section then return and perform a sumptuous and lush sounding theme which strikes at the heart strings, this luxurious sound is interrupted abruptly by jagged sounding strings and synthetics and embellished by brass and harsh sounding string stabs which stride forward and take control of the proceedings creating a taught and dramatic conclusion for this track.
The remainder of the score is equally as good as the tracks I have described and includes two songs, GONE by Ionna Gika and BREATH OF LIFE by Florence and The Machine, both of which are very good. This is probably one of the composers best scores, well to date any way. Well worth adding to your collection, it is epic in proportion and also just as epic in quality. Highly recommended.