Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2022 March 28 • Monday

Admirers of the "classic" orchestral film score will enjoy the 719th Soundtrack of the Week, Ray Leppard's music for Alfred the Great.

The "Main Title" has a soaring, lyrical and romantic quality that's on par with Williams or Goldsmith.

Hunting horns and timpani announce "Invasion of the Vikings", a sharp, tense and blasting action cue with some lovely and gentle flute playing as contrast.

The fighting continues in the energetic and dangerous-sounding "Alfred Turns Back the Vikings", with more hunting horns as well as the full orchestra going full out.

After that we get a breather, a love theme called "First Meeting", with a delicate and beautiful melody presented by oboe.

"First Quarrel" is very renaissance-sounding and might be diegetic, relying on wooden recorders and some other string and reed instruments.

Things get more intense with "First Kiss", a longish cue that sounds more like suspense than a love theme, though some of that is in there too.

Another compelling orchestral piece with an inexorable pull and also a suggestion of palace intrigue creates the sonic environment for "The Death of King Ethelred", gradually building in intensity.

What soundw like more tension and danger kick off "King Buhrud Deserts Alfred" but the second half is a more relaxed and spare piece of music with some relatively easygoing figures pressented by wind and string instruments.

Then the music hits hard with a blast of emotion for "Queen Aelhswith Leaves Alfred" before downshifting to more period-appropriate renaissance-type sounds.

Action and peril return for "Aelhswith Surrenders to Guthrum" followed by the wistful and romantic "Alfred in the Outlaw Camp".

"A Night in the Forest" is tense and suspenseful, followed by renasissance instruments introducing "The Nobles Rally to Alfred" before the whole orchestra joins in for a huge swelling sound.

Then it must be the action-packed conclusion for the explosive and high-energy "Alfred's Victory", with the orchestra unleashed and swinging for the rafters.

There are then two "film version" cues, "Prologue - Invasion of the Vikings - Ordination", a medley of cues ending with a vocal choir, and then "End Title", a reprise of the "Main Title" theme.