Tale of a Forest/Panu Aaltio

July 1, 2013


Tale of a Forest, a film about Nordic wildlife, has already won an award for best documentary score from International Film Music Critics (2013) and hopefully more will come in the future. Panu Aaltio, composer of Home of the Dark Butterflies and Dawn of the Dragonslayer, and is fast becoming the go to guy for Nordic films in the 21st century. His style is refreshingly melodic something that other modern day composers could learn a thing or two about.

In an interview Aaltio called his Music for a Forest a hybrid score (new term to me) because the low budget wouldn’t permit the use of a full symphonic orchestra. When you listen to it you’ll be amazed at his wizardry with his mixing and use of samples making this release a wonderful listening experience It isn’t perfect as there are spots that cry out for a full orchestra or some of the sampling is far too obvious but overall it’s an excellent release and one of the best examples of what someone can do with a limited budget.

Beginning with a rather dark statement from the lower register “Tales of a Forest” quickly moves to the first melody from the oboe. This is the theme for the world tree, the foundation of life. The track ends on a majestic note. “A New Beginning” begins with a flighty melody from the clarinet with counterpoint being provided by the flute, oboe, and bassoon. This track ends on the same majestic style chords that we heard in the “Tale of the Forest Track.” “The Little Ones” begins with keyboards in yet another melody but a solo violin as well other instruments give support to the keyboards. This is another upbeat happy track. “A Midsummer Treasure”adds another melody offered on the violin in a bright major key. One can hear some traditional classical period music reminding me of something that Mozart might have written. I’ve included this as an audio track. Track 4 “Woodland Spirit” repeats the theme from “Tale of the Forest” track in a somber stoic style. A statement from timpani and melody from oboe lead to some nice harp chords to conclude this track. “Spring Wonder” is a repeat of the “A Midsummmer Treasure melody this time offering a bit more complex arrangement with lots of counterpoint. “Spring Wonder” is a repeat of the “Midsummer Treasure” melody with a far more complex arrangement with lots of counterpoint. “Ant Kingdom” begins with plucking on the harp which leads us into an oriental mystery world with oboe and tambourine. It is a track that reminded me of what some of the 19th century Russian composers might have written. “Bird and the Squirrel” starts with the main melody and then the real fun begins with brass and pizzicato strings. There is nice interplay between bassoon and flute. The bassoon playing of Sari Seppelin is nothing short of outstanding. The theme, style, and ideas continue in “Twig Traffic.” “A Forest Adventure,” the concluding track, is a restatement of the themes we’ve just heard. Of all of the tracks it is the weakest one showing the low budget. The forte of the midsummer theme is very evident that it came from samples.

This is yet another release from the catalog of Moviescore media that should not be missed. It is one that I’ll revisit often.

Track listing


The Tale of a Forest (02:47)


A New Beginning (03:46)


The Little Ones (02:08)


A Midsummer Treasure (01:44)


Snowfall (02:33)


The Woodland Spirit (04:35)


Spring Wonder (02:56)


Days Gone By (02:35)


Ant Kingdom (02:23)


Stone of the Snakes (01:58)


Home (02:50)


The Bird and the Squirrel (03:14)


Twig Traffic (02:30)


Raindrops (02:24)


Love, Care and Respect (06:24)


The World Tree (02:02)


Forsaken (01:58)


A Forest Adventure (02:35)

Total Duration: 00:51:22

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