A Little Holiday Warmth From Mark McKenzie
The story of one of Santa’s famous reindeer is revisited in the new holiday film, Prancer: A Christmas Tale. The film features James Cromwell as a widowed grandfather who, with his granddaughter, see a magical reindeer. The heartwarming score is from Mark McKenzie who creates his own magic here with a variety of electronics that he performs here in a rich tapestry of orchestral sound. It has been nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award.
Both McKenzie’s penchant for lyrical melodic writing and gorgeous orchestration comes through from the very opening “I Can’t Wait To See You”. Using a blend of strings with harp, and bell/celesta-like sounds he crafts touching music throughout. The piano additions help also pull the music forward (“Love Arrives as A Reindeer”). Unlike so many electronic sampled scores, McKenzie’s skill as an orchestrator serves him well here as all the instrumental lines are quite idiomatic and appropriate which further boosts the effectiveness of the music. The approach is light, almost romantic comedy-like with little flourishes of harp and bells against strings. The thematic idea here is also captivating and serves to pull together the progression of the story and music here. Choral overlays, and some well-chosen wind solo ideas add further color to the score. With these shifts in sound, also come some tempo adjustments that further add to the emotional content of the music and can also punch up moments of awe and wonder as well as excitement. A longer suite provides a nice overview of the score as a final summation.
Prancer: A Christmas Tale is a solid score with quite engaging musical themes in an often quite colorful and heartwarming work well worth adding to your holiday. The score is available as a physical CD from Intrada and is also available as a download.