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A Massive Amount of Dark Materials

Philip Pullman’s best-selling children’s novels gets the BBC/HBO treatment has now reached its third season and as they have done in the past, Silva has pulled together some of the musical highlights from Lorne Balfe’s (Mission Impossible: Fallout) score for this new series.

First they have issues a compilation that pulls together some highlights from season 3. Balfe’s work on this series has been consistently impressive as he explores some of the dark, fantasy orchestral writing with engaging thematic ideas that set the tone well. “A New World” opens this release with just such a style of impending gloom and heroism at the edge. There are some equally epic swaths of orchestral writing that come to the fore in tracks like “Asriel’s Republic” or “The Land of the Dead”. These provide fine musical atmospheres with interesting thematic components. There are several character tracks as well that provide thematic and/or sound colors (“Father Gomez”; “The Boatman”; “General Ogunwe”; “Lord Roke” with its somewhat somber heroism, and for “The Gallivespians” and “Metatron” with its unusual effects). The 14 tracks on the download-only compilation are a great way for getting a sense of the score. Balfe's thematic and atmospheric fantasy writing is on fine display here and this is perfect for casual listeners.

However, Silva has also seen fit to release a host of additional downloadable segments that cover a couple episodes each from Season 3. These four separate releases allow fans of the score and series to delve deeper into the music and present a wealth of themes and set pieces. There is just under four hours of music here across these releases that are identified in sets of 2 episodes each. This release model is something that has been a new trend for series scores (especially with the host of Disney IP properties of multiple series). While it may be a bit much to take in, fans will want these episode sets to enjoy while others seeking just a little bit of music from the series will be satisfied with the general compilation.


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