Tag Archives: Carter Burwell

Soundtrack Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

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I grew up loving A.A. Milne’s stories about Winnie the Pooh and his best friend Christopher Robin. In fact, I remember being delighted to learn that Christopher Robin had been a real person (he passed away in 1996). So when I heard that Goodbye Christopher Robin would be looking at the story of how the Winnie the Pooh stories were made, and the consequences for the Milne family, I was immediately interested.

The soundtrack for this film will be released on CD on October 13th and was composed by Carter Burwell (he’s also worked on Twilight, The Bourne Identity and Anomalisa, among others). And I have to say, the soundtrack for Goodbye Christopher Robin has been absolutely delightful to listen to. Let me highlight a few of my favorites for you:

First there was “Tree of Memory”, a beautiful track, with primarily string instruments. It was very soothing, very much what you would expect from a film about the origins of Winnie the Pooh. At the same time, I couldn’t help but notice a minor tone begin to creep in towards the end, which might be hinting at the tension that arises in the Milne family as the fame of the Winnie the Pooh stories brings a LOT of attention their way (the real Christopher Robin eventually grew tired of being associated with those books as he grew older).

“Toys and Stars” was another favorite. It starts with a soft guitar ostinato (repeating melody) that is joined by a flute and a clarinet. It feels like music for a lullaby, and by the end of the track all the instruments come together in this perfect harmony.

“Balloons” is a whimsical track that is very short (only fifty seconds in length) and entirely strings. The melody jumps and skips and then it will flow, and it was very fun to listen to.

The last track I will highlight is “Into the Forest” and this might be my favorite of the bunch. It would be wrong to call it “dark” but it isn’t “happy” either. It begins with an extremely light air of tension that slowly grows as the track goes on. I would love to know the context of this piece as it is very interesting to listen to. If I had to take a guess, since it’s titled “Into the Forest” I almost wonder if someone (maybe Christopher Robin) is lost in the woods? Anything is possible at this point.

This is just a sneak peek into the overall soundtrack, everything I listened to sounded amazing. I definitely recommend picking up this soundtrack when it is released. I hope you enjoyed reading about the music for Goodbye Christopher Robin. My thanks to The Krakower Group for making this soundtrack available for review.

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Carter Burwell talks Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

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Carter Burwell talks Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

I was surprised when Where the Wild Things Are became a motion picture in 2009. As a kid, I remember having this book read to me and I enjoyed it very much, but it didn’t seem like the best story to adapt into a movie (after all, it isn’t very long). But to my surprise, the movie actually turned out to be very good. If you haven’t read the book before, the story in brief is about a young boy named Max who sails to a magical island inhabited by oversized monsters. Max makes himself their king and rules over them for a while until he becomes homesick and returns to where he came from. The film expands on this story quite a bit, but the basic elements remain the same.

While Carter Burwell might not be a name as familiar as, say, John Williams, James Horner or Brian Tyler, he has done a fair share of great film scores. He composed several scores for the Twilight series (Twilight; Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2) and collaborated six times with director Bill Condon. Burwell has certainly done some interesting work over the years.

And the composer has some interesting thoughts to share on the story’s musical score, as seen in the video above. For instance, once Max arrives on the island “where the wild things are”, the composer thought it appropriate to completely change the music from something familiar to something more exotic (like using non-traditional instrumentation). One part involves literally banging on pots and pans to create a musical effect. The idea is that these are things you might literally find on the forest floor on the island. Using non-traditional items to create music is always exciting and I had no idea that Burwell and his fellow musicians had done this to create the music for Where the Wild Things Are.

If you’d like to learn more about the film scores of Carter Burwell, see here

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