The Greatest Miracle/McKenzie

November 1, 2011

Mark McKenzie, like Conrad Pope and Hugo Friedhofer, is primarily known in Hollywood for his outstanding arranging and is in demand for his talent as a man of being able to create glowing orchestral color. He started by working with Bruce Broughton in 1985 on Young Sherlock Holmes and 25 plus years later has never looked back. His latest offering, The Greatest Miracle, is an original composition which was performed as part of a World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain in conjunction with Pope Benedict XVI’s visit. The 3D animated, religious, family film has opened in New York and Los Angeles with excellent attendance. While this work was originally destined for ITunes digital release only, BSX has made it available as a limited release of 1500 units (CD# BSXCD8894).

The Greatest Miracle Prelude (7:32) theme is first offered by the strings in an uplifting arrangement with peace coming to mind. There is a bridge of danger and tension until the main theme returns in a majestic arrangement offering horns, a full crescendo from the orchestra, and the Libera Boys Choir singing a Latin chant which is highly spiritual. This cue was arranged to move the soul and it certainly achieves that goal. There is no doubt as to what this film is about.

Call of the Spirit (2:36) begins with a very quiet offering from the woodwinds, a variation of the miracle theme. The oboe, flute, and harp help it build to a nice crescendo with bells giving it an added religious orchestral color.

Entering The Cathedral (2:20) opens with a return of the miracle theme in the tradition and orchestration of Alfred Newman. A bit of sadness especially the offering from the oboe make this one of reflection and gratitude.

Angels, Demons, and Prayer (5:32) the choral makes a statement giving it a feeling of being angelic. The middle portion is one of tension broken slightly by a clarinet. If there is a loud dissonant passage in this work it is in this section. The third part of the cue is an overcoming of the demons and once again we hear the powerful main theme again.

Reclaiming Faith (3:12) the cue is very spiritual and a cue that you could meditate to. After a soft introduction there is a quiet arrangement of the miracle theme with a flute solo, lonely oboe and yearning strings.

Benedictus Deus (1:36) a Latin offering from the choir upbeat and majestic along with orchestra is this prayer.

You’ll See (1:15) is piano lead underscore very quiet and tranquil.

Offerings (2:25) music that leads one from the darkness to the light. In the track you can hear the good overcoming the evil forces. The chorus offers another Latin chanting.

Ask For What You Want (1:41) a wordless choir is complemented by major key strings.

I Miss You (3:33) the soft beginning changes to one of turmoil with horns offering a counter melody. A simple piano melody enhanced by soft strings offering a variation of the miracle theme ends the track.

Ultimate Love (4:45) the soundtracks of The Robe and Song of Bernadette come to mind when I’m listening to this track.

A Clean Soul (3:03) offers a quiet peaceful version of Bach’s Prelude in C Major. It begins soft and quiet barely audible. The melody changes to the miracle theme with the wordless choir complementing the orchestra.

 

Go In Peace (4:03) there is an instrumental version of the Benedictus theme before the chorus offers a wordless harmony to the beautiful music you are listening to.

That Beautiful Smile (2:34) another track that offers a meditation type quality. Very spiritual.

Ascension/Gloria Patri (1:46) brings the piece to a conclusion as it sums up what is offered in the previous 14 tracks. The chorus is dominating.

Pictures With Black Bow (1:47) (bonus) a soft flute yields to percussion strings and a Latin chant from the chorus. It is a track of happiness and joy.

Bus Accident (1:56) piano, clarinet, flute, trumpet offer a reflective moment as the orchestra builds to a crescendo in this underscore offering.

If spiritual and somewhat laid back are to your liking this soundtrack will offer maximum appeal. There is nothing groundbreaking as McKenzie continues in the tradition of Alfred Newman and offers a deeply moving soundtrack. Very little in the way of being loud and certainly not dissonant in any fashion this is certainly a religious experience not to be missed.

1.

The Greatest Miracle Prelude * (07:32)

2.

Call Of The Spirit (02:36)

3.

Entering The Cathedral (02:20)

4.

Angels, Demons And Prayer (05:32)

5.

Reclaiming Faith (03:12)

6.

Benedictus Deus (01:36)

7.

You’ll See (01:15)

8.

Offerings (02:25)

9.

Ask For What You Want (01:41)

10.

I Miss You (03:33)

11.

Ultimate Love (04:45)

12.

A Clean Soul (03:03)

13.

Go In Peace (04:03)

14.

That Beautiful Smile (02:34)

15.

Ascension And Gloria Patri (01:46)
BONUS TRACKS:

16.

Pictures With Black Bow (01:47)

17.

Bus Accident (01:56)
* = part of Suite played in Madrid during World Youth Days with
Pope Benedict XVI visiting

Total Duration: 00:51:36

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2 Responses to “The Greatest Miracle/McKenzie”

  1. Martijn Says:

    Good description and analysis, Tom. It’s a very fine, soft score with a strong and beautiful “religious sound”, reminiscent at times of some of the work of Newman on The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Story Of Bernadette.

  2. Bob Says:

    Thanks for the review, Tom. I contacted Mark Mackenzie, last April, in the hope that his then only available as a download score would be made available as a CD. His reply was cautiously optimistic that this might happen. I am thankful to Ford Thaxton and Mark Banning for releasing the score. I have always admired Mark Mackenzie’s original scores, but this one is simply his best yet. I listened to the score in one sitting, a rare event for me, these days, when I received it last Friday. Quite breathtaking. It is a score that nurtures our spiritual intelligence in a most effective way. Simply wonderful! I was also touched by Mark Mackenzie’s dedication of the score to his relative who was killed in a construction accident.

    Bob Bowd


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