Film Music Review
The Sammy awards






The Wildest Dream: Original Orchestral Soundtrack

The Wildest Dream (2010)

Music composed by Joel Douek.

20 Tracks (Playing Time = 49:45)

Album produced by Anthony Geffen and Joel Douek. Music orchestrated by Greg Pliska. “Edge of Heaven” composed by Lisbeth Scott and Joel Douek. Featuring Lisbeth Scott, and the Czech Filmharmonic Orchestra conducted by Richard Fiocca. Recording engineered by Gary Chester. Mastered by Fabrice Dupont.

Altitude Films CD 01/ Cadence Music

Rating: ***1/2


George Mallory’s dream of reaching Mount Everest would end in tragedy. The world found that out for certain when Conrad Anker discovered Mallory’s remains on the mountain some 75 years later. THE WILDEST DREAM pulls the stories of these two men together in this biographical film from Australia directed by Anthony Geffen in this debut effort. Through voiceovers and narration, the story of both expeditions is told set against stunning cinematography. The film made it to a few festivals in 2010, appearing briefly in theaters last August, and is now finding its way to DVD.

The score is by Joel Douek who has built a steady catalogue of documentary scores over the past decade. He started out in animated television providing music for the 2003 season of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLEs. More recently he has worked on the series CHAOTIC, provided music for Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK and scored FLYING MONSTERS IN 3D WITH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH and a couple of episodes for NOVA. His score for THE WILDEST DREAM demonstrates what he can do when a full orchestra is at his disposal and his capability of letting his own voice shine through the various threads of influence one may detect in the music.

The music for THE WILDEST DREAM is cast in those big epic orchestral styles though what makes it engrossing is the way Douek’s orchestral conception allows for elongated solos. “A Patch of Snow” is one such place where a classically-shaped solo violin line reaches ever onward against a static backdrop. It is in some contrast to the opening “Everest” that follows an almost standard Hollywood orchestra with vocalise adventure sound. Something else that makes Douek’s score interesting is that while it is filled with warm orchestral writing reminiscent of Williams, his Zimmer-like churning string moments are also accompanied by a variety of brief instrumental interjections over the top of the texture—as if a bird flew by ones line of vision of Everest itself.

The music has that somber majestic quality familiar to documentary film scoring coupled with gentle melodic ideas to help ease tension (think MARCH OF THE PENGUINS score writ larger). Douek does a fascinating job of finding ways to always have these different ascending figures in his score that musically give us the sense of moving ever upward. Sometimes we are surrounded by beauty or moments of reflection as depicted in the beautiful “Twin Desires,” “Summit Serene,” or Barry-esque “Sandy Irvine.” In “The Puja,” we hear some of Lisbeth Scott’s vocalizing in what is a more ethnic-like track adding in ethnic flutes and drumming ideas (reminiscent of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN). “Summit Day” brings together some of the hopefulness and searching in a seemingly bittersweet sound helped by the soaring violin solo.

Filled with rich orchestration that moves us through the romance and epic climbs, Douek’s score is an engaging narrative of its own that works well here. The performances by the Prague Filmharmonic Orchestra lend the work a richness and warmth in the overall sound picture that helps the music tremendously.

A final track, “The Edge of Heaven,” is a song co-written and performed by Lisbeth Scott.

Overall, THE WILDEST DREAM is a fine score recalling Alex Heffes work on another similar film, TOUCHING THE VOID.

This score will no doubt be important to Douek’s opportunities and is a “new” voice worth keeping one's eyes on in the future.


-- Steven A. Kennedy, 19 April 2011

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