A bit of a hidden gem - There Be Dragons is a wonderful orchestral score with Spanish influences,
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This review is from: There Be Dragons: Secretos De Pasion (Audio CD)
From the title, "There Be Dragons: Secretos De Pasion", it sounds like this is the score for a Spanish fantasy epic. Instead, the story is based upon the Spanish Civil War. I haven't seen the film, so my opinions of the score will be based on what I heard on CD only.
Having no preconceived expectations about this release (I hadn't heard of the film, or composer Robert Folk), I was very impressed at the quality of the orchestral writing and Folk's ability to add just enough Spanish flavour to make the score sound authentic for the subject matter. Some of my favourite tracks were "Who to Kill" (Track 22) - the guitar and orchestral writing was superb. "Love and War" (Track 6) is absolutely stunning - the brass section gets to shine, as does the choir. I won't go into every track in detail but I found it hard to single out tracks that I particularly enjoyed because the quality was so consistently high across the album.
There are 28 tracks present, and only two are over three minutes in length. This doesn't allow for a huge amount of thematic development within the tracks, but there is a good deal of variation across the album instead that makes up for it. The album duration is just over 52 minutes. Whilst probably below average in terms of soundtrack releases, the album doesn't sound short. There is good variation in the types of track present, ranging from all out action, to softer tracks with guitar. This is a good balance and helps the album to flow well. From a production perspective, the album sounds great. The guitar is at the forefront of the mix in the tracks it is present, meaning it isn't overpowered by the rest of the orchestra.
Overall, this release will surprise you by the consistently high quality. A sweeping orchestral score with some Spanish flavour in the form of an acoustic guitar, this release certainly doesn't reinvent the genre, but the Spanish dimension certainly adds something different to proceedings. This is a release that I suspect will be confined to relative obscurity. However, if you do find yourself on this page, don't hesitate to click the buy button. I thought it was brilliant!