Princess Ka’iulani/Stephen Warbeck

October 21, 2011

Based on Marc Forby’s historical novel about Hawaii trying to maintain their independence from the US in the late 1800’s Oscar winner Steven Warbeck wrote a melodic and moving score. His classical knowledge is quite evident as he created several different themes, harmonies, counterpoint, and an overall fine soundtrack that comes highly recommended. The Movie Score Media release is available on CD from SAE on October 25th and digital download from iTunes on October 18th. It is a limited edition of 500 copies and with the new policy of stating that it is a first edition. The score is performed by the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andreas Delfs.


The Beach and the Past (2:52) starts with a very soft piano backed by the strings of the symphony orchestra. As the track unfolds the strings offer the main melody which is not overused but is repeated or variations of it. The vibraphone gives the cue a sense of Hawaii but this is quite subtle. I like the way the piano is used as it leads and also offers support for the orchestra.


The King and the Protestors (2:30) is a cue of slow building tension with the snare drum and horns making it majestic. Danger from the horns, tremolo strings, a constant beat from the timpani build to a variation of the main theme. The woodwinds end the track.


The Princess of Nowhere (3:50) offers delicate soft piano backed by shimmering strings which is a buildup to the main theme again played by the strings. It is very quiet, peaceful, and tranquil with support coming from harp, flute, and clarinet.


Alone (1:10) is very classical and majestic, something you would hear during a royal gathering. This stately cue is all too brief.


Barcarolle (2:12) is the first of two times that part of Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons Op. 37B for solo piano is offered. The Barcarolle, an imitating of a Venetian boat song, was his June offering and has been used as source music. It is very delicate and quite romantic.


The Letter (1:17) introduces another melody that has a yearning violin backed by the harp and piano.


The Reception (2:08) begins with a small chamber orchestra, a happy Mozart style of classical dance. The theme is played by Cello until there is a full crescendo from the orchestra and the sound becomes modern. This track is yet another new melody.


The Shells (2:17) The delicate piano returns and with the orchestra offers another variation of the main theme. A yearning violin provides counterpoint.


Memory (1:36) The piano is answered by the harp with shimmering strings. A slight reference is made to the main theme.


The World in the Room (1:37) More underscore is offered with the piano and harp with clarinet and horns complementing.


Ka’iulani (2:06) A prelude is offered for solo piano with two melodies blending together at the end of the cue. Very soft and delicate


What Happened to Our Country (2:18) French horn and brass with a hint of a snare drum and timpani give us a patriotic cue.


New World (2:18) This time the trumpets /trombones offer the theme of patriotism.


The Pepper Story (1:10) is piano/strings as the new world theme continues. Quite lush and relaxing.


Plotting A cue of subdued tension offers shimmering strings and well placed horn calls and percussion.


The Beach and the Letter (1:46) A quiet version of the main theme. This is music to fall asleep too.


Eden Lost (1:43) Solo violin with harmony from horns offer this lullaby with a new prelude from the piano.


The Amendment (1:21) The main theme is offered with chords from the harp enhancing a soft yet majestic cue.


Leave Taking (3:04) Piano with strings in the background offers a variation of the new world theme. Very quiet and peaceful, somewhat funeral like.


A Nation Died (1:42) A solo cello offers a yearning for better day’s theme before the orchestra offers a variation of the main theme.


The End (3:23) Piano backed by the symphony orchestra offers a sad theme but part way through there is a breath of happiness from the flute and clarinet. Classical piano ends the cue.


Barcarolle (4:52) This is the complete version of the Season piece. Something to meditate to.


If you like your scores full of melodies with soft delicate strings and piano this release from MSM will make you very happy. There is not a hint of brash dissonance, loud over the top melodies, shrieking strings, or blaring brass. This is very much 19th century romantic music. Nicely recorded, performed, and engineered this is one to listen to after a hard week.



CD# is MMS 11017





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