Home > Reviews > BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – Alan Menken

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – Alan Menken

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Beauty and the Beast is the latest film in Walt Disney Studios’s series of live action remakes of their classic animated films, following on from Maleficent (a remake of Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, and The Jungle Book. For those who don’t know, the film is based on both the 1991 animated film, as well as the classic French fairytale La Belle et la Bête written by novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. It tells the story of a beautiful young woman, Belle, who is taken prisoner by a mysterious and terrifying beast who lives in an enchanted castle near her village; initially scared of the monster, Belle gradually grows to love him, especially when she learns that he is actually a handsome prince who was cursed by an enchantress years previously. The Beast and all the castle’s inhabitants – who now comprise a candelabra, a clock, and a teapot, among others – are cursed to remain in their enchanted state until someone falls in love with him. Meanwhile, Belle’s boorish and narcissistic suitor Gaston is manipulating Belle’s kindly father in order to win Belle’s hand in marriage, and will stop at nothing to bag his ‘trophy’ wife. The film, which is directed by Bill Condon, is a sumptuous visual delight, filled with spectacular fairytale imagery of magic and romance; it stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, and Luke Evans as Gaston, with Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and Josh Gad in supporting and voice roles.

When looking back at the period now, considering their enormous success and influence, it’s easy to forget that Disney was a film studio in trouble in the 1980s. Their first four animated films during the decade – The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver & Company – had not been particularly well-received, while the success of the fifth, The Little Mermaid in 1989, was certainly not seen as a guarantor of future achievement. Everything changed with the 1991 release of Beauty and the Beast, which became the first animated film ever to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, and subsequently set in motion a decade of almost unparalleled cinematic dominance for the house that Walt built. A major contributor to that success was composer Alan Menken, whose now iconic songs and score for the film quickly cemented themselves into public consciousness. The contributions made by him and the late, great lyricist Howard Ashman are among the greatest songs ever written for cinema – “Belle,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Gaston,” “Be Our Guest,” and others – and it was inconceivable that he would not return for the new version. In fact, director Condon said that the original score was the key reason he agreed to direct a live-action version of the movie. “That score had more to reveal”, he says, “You look at the songs and there’s not a clunker in the group. In fact, [New York Times columnist] Frank Rich described it as the best Broadway musical of 1991”.

The problem, of course, is that Menken was faced with the almost unique situation of having to score the remake of an original movie that he himself previously scored. In modern cinema, the only other time I can remember this happening was when composer Emilio Kauderer scored both the original 2009 Argentine film, and the 2015 American remake, of the thriller Secret in Their Eyes, meaning that Menken is in rarified company. Menken’s balancing act was to remain true to the original themes and songs of the first film, but not come across as a simple rehash with nothing new to say. It is therefore to Menken’s eternal credit that the new score is quite superb; to use an odd analogy, this is a film score onion – the original 1991 score was the outer skin, while the new score looks deeper into its flesh, revealing hitherto unheard musical layers and depths.

The core elements of the new depths are threefold. Firstly, the orchestra is bigger, and more impressive, with richer and more lavish arrangements than previously heard. From the very first bar of the first cue, the increased depth of Menken’s orchestrations are apparent, as a set of new string cascades underpin the familiar Rose theme at the beginning of the “Main Title – Prologue”. This is just the first example of literally hundreds of new flourishes and touches that breathe new life into the score. Secondly, Menken’s compositional prowess actually seems to have improved over the years, which may sound like an odd thing to say considering how wonderful he was in the first place, but it’s actually true. The contrapuntal writing, the thematic application, the fluidity of the dramatic development, all feel like an improvement over the original, while the pure underscore – especially the more dramatic moments of tension and action – feels more accomplished. I know that I tend to forget just what a great action composer Menken has become over the years; whereas The Little Mermaid was unfocused and at times came across as being a little amateurish, Menken’s action prowess has become better and better, from Pocahontas, through The Hunchback of Notre Dame, parts of The Shaggy Dog, and especially Enchanted, until reaching the excellence he shows today.

Thirdly, there are several new themes, each of which are based on the quartet of songs written especially for this film by Menken with lyricist Tim Rice. The first, “Evermore,” is a song for the Beast himself, who surprisingly had never had one. With its longing, brooding, yet determinedly hopeful lyrics, soaring central melody that emerges from the Rose theme, and beautiful instrumental bridge, it’s the knockout of the score’s new material, and is given special gravitas by Dan Stevens’s unexpectedly powerful and bassy voice. “Days in the Sun” is similarly longing, but this time from the point of view of the household objects, who desire to be human again, and to be with their loved ones. It’s a sweet, optimistic tune which (thankfully) replaces the song “Human Again,” which was cut from the original 1991 film but reinstated for that film’s special edition release, and for the Broadway show. I never liked it that much.

The third new theme is based on the song “Aria,” an opulent but slightly stuffy and pretentious waltz which is performed in character by Audra MacDonald as Madame de Garderobe, a world-renowned Italian opera singer who is eventually transformed into a piece of furniture; it is intended to represent the follies and excesses of the Beast’s life pre-transformation. Finally there is “How Does A Moment Last Forever,” which is a song about lost love and regret; it’s sung as a music box lullaby by Kevin Kline as Belle’s father Maurice remembering his youth with baby Belle and his deceased wife, then later by Emma Watson as Belle as she herself remembers her childhood in Montmartre with nostalgic sorrow. The song’s 8-note central motif is a recurring idea in the score, and is incorporated whenever Menken wants to convey the idea of a romantic lament.

These new melodies combine with the melodies of the half dozen classic songs, all of which are given an update with performances by the new cast. “Belle,” of course, is the hustling and bustling look at French provincial life, as the villagers go about their daily routines: passing comment on Belle and her predilection for bibliophilia, with Gaston lusting after from afar, and Belle herself dreaming about escaping from her dull existence and seeing the world she only knows from her books. The exhilarating rush of emotion that comes with the sweep of the orchestra is as spine-tingling as always, while the constant switching of the character focus, the different vocal harmonies, and the split-second layering of melodies that foreshadow songs later in the score is as brilliant as it ever was (the first statement of the Belle-Beast love theme at 2:38 remains perfect). The only weak spot is Emma Watson’s voice, which is a little thin, and seems to have been auto-tuned within an inch of its life, but this is counterbalanced by the song’s richer orchestrations; I especially enjoy the more prominent and beefy militaristic brasses underneath Gaston’s sequence.

Josh Gad’s lead vocal in “Gaston” is slightly less cartoonish than Jesse Corti’s original, but it still has that whimsical Gallic charm and clever sense of humor. The homoerotic subtext between Gaston and Le Fou that caused so much controversy prior to the film’s release is negligible, although Le Fou is clearly fawning over the intimidating specimen of manliness. I very much enjoy some of the new lyrics, as well as the faux-European instrumental dance sequence that has a touch of Khachaturian’s Saber Dance to it. “Be Our Guest” is still a showstopper but, again, Ewan McGregor’s fake French accent as Lumière somehow feels inferior to and more fake than Jerry Orbach’s fake French accent from the original. The classic Hollywood Busby Berkeley vibe that runs through the entire song is so much fun, though, and still manages to charm after all these years.

I’ve always felt that “Something There” was the weakest song in the original production, and the same is true here, although I have developed a new found appreciation for the way Menken cleverly combines melodic ideas from “Belle” into this song, in the same way that the Belle-Beast love theme was foreshadowed previously. To her credit, Watson even manages to perform the same Barbra Streisand-esque glottal stop that Paige O’Hara did as she sings “true, and a bit alarming,” but other than this one moment of mimicry Watson’s voice is still the song’s weak point. Thankfully, Emma Thompson’s performance of “Beauty and the Beast” is as lovely and heartfelt as Angela Lansbury’s was from the original. I had initially observed that Thompson’s Cockney accent actually felt closer to the inflections that Helena Bonham-Carter adopted for Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, until I realized that Bonham-Carter was basing her accent on Angela Lansbury’s original performance as Mrs. Lovett in the stage production of Todd, so it all comes back full circle in the end. The addition of the harpsichord into the instrumental ensemble is a nice touch, and the lush crescendo of the music as the hesitant lovers melt into each others arms, waltzing the night away, never fails to stir the emotions.

Finally, “The Mob Song” has the same complicated vocal layering as “Belle,” but with a more militaristic and robust orchestral thrust. I’m actually quite impressed with Luke Evans’s voice overall; he doesn’t quite have the same authoritativeness as Richard White did in his gravelly performance as Gaston in 1991, but he acquits himself admirably. I’ve noticed that Menken seems to be especially adept at tailoring his music to massed bass voices – this song sits alongside things like “Savages” from Pocahontas and “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame for thunderous intent – and the swirling orchestral accompaniment gives the sound a rousing, if a little dark and troubling, feel.

These nine themes are joined by the iconic Rose Theme, the glittery, magical-sounding seven-note motif that runs through the entire score as a recurring marker for the curse that the Enchantress places on the inhabitants of the castle, and the iconic rose that counts down the days in which the Beast has to both find, and receive, genuine love. As mentioned, the Rose Theme first appears in the first bars of the opening cue, “Main Title: Prologue,” where the syncopated piano melody is given a new lease of life with a dancing string countermelody – a sign of things to come in terms of how Menken adapts and builds upon the original score material in beautiful new ways. The cue quickly becomes a dramatic, expressive depiction of magical power and destiny, filled with powerful brass accents, choral vocalizations, and emotional cello lines. This is how fairy tales begin.

Thereafter, Menken jumps easily between light comedy, tender romance, and more dramatic moments of action and suspense, and excels at all of them. The comedy, as one would expect, tends to come from the members of the Beast’s household staff. Although the first few moments of “Meet the Staff” are dark, there are nevertheless numerous touches of mischievousness through the use of an accordion to represent Lumière, as well as thematic allusions to ‘Be Our Guest’. Meanwhile, “Madame de Garderobe” is a whimsical, operatic orchestral statement of the ‘Aria’, waltz-like and playful, while “Beast Takes a Bath” contains an equally humorous variation on the ‘Evermore’ theme for pizzicato strings and accordion, which segues into a similarly-colored statement of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ theme, and a whirligig performance of ‘Aria,’ as the staff finally realize that rouge and powdered wigs don’t look good on horns and fur.

Menken’s romantic writing is simply gorgeous. “Your Mother” presents the first hesitant performance of the theme from ‘How Does A Moment Last Forever’, as Belle and her father talk about her long-deceased mother, accompanied by a wash of gentle, warm, elegant, nostalgic cello writing. Later, “The Library” is similarly warm, with a sense of magical revelation to the cello and woodwind writing, and the merest hints of ‘Belle’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’, rising to a lovely crescendo towards the end as the Beast reveals his treasured books to his enraptured new friend. “Colonnade Chat” introduces a beautiful arrangement of the ‘Evermore’ theme for horns, then piano and strings, before swelling into a bold, emotional performance of the Beast-Belle love theme. “The Dress,” in which Belle fulfils every young girl’s fantasies of romance and glamour, contains a sparkling performance of Belle’s theme, with a prominent glockenspiel part.

Of course, considering how much of the film concerns a potentially deadly beast inside an outwardly scary castle, there is suspense and straightforward drama too. Cues like “Entering the Castle” and “A White Rose” are moody, sinister, hesitant, but still thematically strong. The creepy performance of ‘Be Our Guest’ in the former on a medieval harpsichord is actually funny when you know the context, while the latter gradually grows to become quite thrilling, with several wild, ragged statements of the Rose theme on spectacular brass as the Beast discovers Maurice taking a white rose from the castle garden, and exacts an overly-harsh punishment. The Rose theme also plays a major part of subsequent cues like “The Beast” and “There’s a Beast,” which capture the hero’s internal torment with brooding orchestral textures.

“Home” is an instrumental adaptation of the song “Home,” which did not feature in the original film but was written for the 1994 Broadway version, in which Belle pines for her lost liberty when she is first imprisoned by the Beast. Parts of it recall the first few bars of “Belle” (‘little town, it’s a quiet village’), but it has a warm and appealing sound filled with music box twinkles, and which is again clothed in Gallic musical sensibilities. “A Bracing Cup of Tea” highlights a solo violin performance of the ‘Days in the Sun’ theme, while the comforting, maternal piano melody in the cue’s second half segues into a lullabyish statement of ‘How Does a Moment Last Forever’. “The West Wing” features unexpectedly downcast statements of ‘Be Our Guest,’ ‘Days in the Sun,’ and the Rose theme, as the true extent of the Enchantress’s curse becomes clear. The score’s dramatic high point comes in “You Must Go to Him,” which underscores the moment where the Beast allows Belle to leave the castle of her own volition to save her father; here, the Rose theme is dramatic, slightly nervous, and has a sense of anticipation, while the performance of the ‘Evermore’ theme is full of appropriate longing and regret, especially as this is the cue that leads directly into that song in the film.

However, for my money, the most impressive parts of the score proper are the action sequences. “Wolf Chase,” which accompanies the scene of Maurice losing his way in the forest and being attacked by wolves, begins with a sense of eerie mysteriousness, but gradually emerges into a full-throated orchestral assault. Worth noting here are the especially powerful horns as they perform deconstructed chords from Belle’s theme – Menken brilliantly uses two specific phrases which correlate to the lines ‘tray like always/name means beauty’ and ‘really is a funny girl’ from the song – and the huge statement of the Rose theme to announce Maurice’s first view of the forbidding castle. Later, “Wolves Attack Belle” features more throbbing action, a fast pace, imposing percussion hits, stabbing strings, and an ominous choir, as well as more deconstructions and variations on Belle’s theme which become tender towards the end of the piece. The searing minor key statement of the Belle-Beast love theme from “Something There” at 2:45 is absolutely wonderful.

“Belle Stops the Wagon” is the cue that initiates the film’s action finale; from here on in the score doesn’t let up, presenting action cue after action cue, interspersed by soaring emotional highlights. It begins as an action setting of Belle’s theme, full of rampaging string runs and brass triplets, before adopting an air of menacing tension towards the end as Belle confronts Gaston and the town mob holding her father prisoner. “Castle Under Attack” arranges many of the song melodies into action motifs. There are bursts of ‘Be Our Guest’, ‘Days in the Sun’, and several others throughout, each flashy, enthusiastic, and full of energy, with especially vibrant harpsichord runs, but with an undercurrent of caper-like comedy to keep things light. The harpsichord performance of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.2 ‘Marche Funèbre’ (better known as the Funeral March) at 1:00 is a hoot – Maestro Cadenza’s hero moment! – while the flashing string runs at 0:40 and 1:45 have more than a hint of Alexandre Desplat about them. The subsequent “Turret Pursuit” switches gears to focus on the battle between Belle, Beast, and Gaston, and offers action settings of both Belle’s theme and the Evermore theme, underpinned by Gaston’s militaristic motif, and filled with dramatic crescendos, driven percussion, and throbbing brass.

The score’s emotional finale begins with “You Came Back,” which continues the action from the previous cue, but quickly becomes more operatic and emotional, with especially superb and complicated inter-weaving of the score’s main thematic identities. There is a huge, magical performance of the Rose theme counterpointed by the melody from ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The major performance of Gaston’s theme at 1:20 appears dominant, proud, victorious, but is abruptly silenced. The statement of the Evermore theme captures the Beast’s sorrow at never being able to be with the one he loves, while the performance of the Belle-Beast love theme on solemn strings, counterpointed with the Rose theme, appears to signal a desperately sad end for the would-be lovers. However, this is a fairytale, and a Disney one at that, and “Transformations” ushers in the film’s vibrant finale. The explosion of the Rose theme as the Beast finally transforms back into his human form is the most glorious statement in the score, especially when it cascades against contrapuntal performances of both ‘Evermore’ and ‘’Beauty and the Beast’. ‘Be Our Guest’ acts as a love theme for Lumière and Plumette, his seductive feather duster French maid; ‘Days in the Sun’ underscores the loving reunion between Mrs. Potts and her son Chip, while the final soaring statements of the Rose theme and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ensure a happily ever after.

Beauty and the Beast always was a masterpiece, and even without this remake would likely have already gone down as the single greatest accomplishment of Alan Menken’s career. However, despite all possible reasoning, Menken has somehow improved on near-perfection with this new version of the score. The new songs – especially the superb “Evermore” – add quality to a canon of songs already bursting with excellence. The scope of the larger orchestrations reveals new depths to a score which was already an Oscar winner, and special praise should be afforded to orchestrators James Shearman, Doug Besterman, Kevin Kliesch, Danny Troob, and Jonathan Tunick for making it feel like you’re hearing these familiar melodies for the very first time. The intelligence and complexity of the action writing is truly tremendous. If you can overlook the significantly weaker vocal performances – especially, unfortunately, Emma Watson’s – then there is no reason why fans of the original won’t find themselves falling in love with this wonderful music all over again. It’s a masterpiece.

A note about the album releases: Disney’s standard 1-CD album features a brief three-minute overture of Menken’s score, and all the main songs as performed by Watson, Stevens, Gad, Evans, Thompson, and others, as well as three ‘pop’ versions of the songs: Céline Dion singing “How Does A Moment Last Forever,” Josh Groban singing “Evermore,” and Ariana Grande duetting with John Legend in a new version of “Beauty and the Beast”. Groban’s song is absolutely magnificent. Meanwhile, the expanded 2-CD special edition includes a second disc containing Menken’s full 68-minute score, as well as several bonus tracks of Menken’s original demos for the new songs, performed by Menken himself. Get the special edition.

Buy the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • REGULAR RELEASE
  • Overture (3:05)
  • Main Title: Prologue, Part 1 (narrated by Hattie Morahan) (0:42)
  • Aria (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Audra McDonald) (1:02)
  • Main Title: Prologue, Part 2 (narrated by Hattie Morahan) (2:21)
  • Belle (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Emma Watson, Luke Evans, and the Ensemble) (5:33)
  • How Does a Moment Last Forever – Music Box (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Kevin Kline) (1:03)
  • Belle – Reprise (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Emma Watson) (1:15)
  • Gaston (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Luke Evans, Josh Gad, and the Ensemble) (4:25)
  • Be Our Guest (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Ewan McGregor with Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Ian McKellen) (4:48)
  • Days in the Sun (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Adam Mitchell, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald, Emma Watson, Ian McKellen, and Clive Rowe) (2:40)
  • Something There (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Emma Watson and Dan Stevens with Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) (2:54)
  • How Does a Moment Last Forever – Montmartre (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Emma Watson) (1:55)
  • Beauty and the Beast (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Emma Thompson) (3:19)
  • Evermore (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Dan Stevens) (3:14)
  • The Mob Song (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Mack, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ewan McGregor, and the Ensemble) (2:28)
  • Beauty and the Beast – Finale (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Audra McDonald, Emma Thompson, and the Ensemble) (2:14)
  • How Does a Moment Last Forever (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Celine Dion) (3:37)
  • Beauty and the Beast (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Ariana Grande and John Legend) (3:47)
  • Evermore (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Josh Groban) (3:09)
  • SPECIAL EDITION
  • Overture (3:05)
  • Main Title: Prologue, Part 1 (narrated by Hattie Morahan) (0:42)
  • Aria (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Audra McDonald) (1:02)
  • Main Title: Prologue, Part 2 (narrated by Hattie Morahan) (2:21)
  • Belle (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Emma Watson, Luke Evans, and the Ensemble) (5:33)
  • How Does a Moment Last Forever – Music Box (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Kevin Kline) (1:03)
  • Belle – Reprise (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Emma Watson) (1:15)
  • Gaston (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Luke Evans, Josh Gad, and the Ensemble) (4:25)
  • Be Our Guest (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Ewan McGregor with Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Ian McKellen) (4:48)
  • Days in the Sun (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Adam Mitchell with Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald, Emma Watson, Ian McKellen, and Clive Rowe) (2:40)
  • Something There (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) (2:54)
  • How Does a Moment Last Forever – Montmartre (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Emma Watson) (1:55)
  • Beauty and the Beast (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Emma Thompson) (3:19)
  • Evermore (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Dan Stevens) (3:14)
  • The Mob Song (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Mack, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ewan McGregor, and the Ensemble) (2:28)
  • Beauty and the Beast – Finale (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Audra McDonald, Emma Thompson, and the Ensemble) (2:14)
  • How Does a Moment Last Forever (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Celine Dion) (3:37)
  • Beauty and the Beast (written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, performed by Ariana Grande and John Legend) (3:47)
  • Evermore (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Josh Groban) (3:09)
  • Aria – Demo (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Alan Menken) (0:36)
  • How Does a Moment Last Forever – Demo (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Alan Menken) (0:59)
  • Days in the Sun – Demo (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Alan Menken) (3:30)
  • How Does a Moment Last Forever – Demo (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Alan Menken) (1:21)
  • Evermore – Demo (written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, performed by Alan Menken) (2:55)
  • Main Title: Prologue (3:01)
  • Belle Meets Gaston (0:54)
  • Your Mother (2:13)
  • The Laverie (1:22)
  • Wolf Chase (3:14)
  • Entering the Castle (1:18)
  • A White Rose (3:57)
  • The Beast (4:03)
  • Meet the Staff (1:00)
  • Home (2:04)
  • Madame de Garderobe (1:28)
  • There’s a Beast (2:02)
  • A Petal Drops (1:02)
  • A Bracing Cup of Tea (2:06)
  • The West Wing (2:58)
  • Wolves Attack Belle (3:17)
  • The Library (3:05)
  • Colonnade Chat (2:54)
  • The Plague (0:51)
  • Maurice Accuses Gaston (2:01)
  • Beast Takes a Bath (1:21)
  • The Dress (1:01)
  • You Must Go to Him (2:50)
  • Belle Stops the Wagon (2:42)
  • Castle Under Attack (4:20)
  • Turret Pursuit (2:12)
  • You Came Back (5:13)
  • Transformations (4:06)

Running Time: 53 minutes 38 seconds – Regular Release
Running Time: 131 minutes 57 seconds – Special Edition

Walt Disney Records (2017)

Music composed by Alan Menken. Conducted by Michael Kosarin. Orchestrations by James Shearman, Doug Besterman, Kevin Kliesch, Danny Troob and Jonathan Tunick. Arrangements by Michael Kosarin and Christopher Benstead. Additional music by Christopher Benstead. Recorded and mixed by Chris Barrett, Chris Navarro and Frank Wolf. Edited by Christopher Benstead. Album produced by Alan Menken, Matt Sullivan and Mitchell Lieb.

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  1. April 4, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Wow! Fascinating and in-depth review! I love most of the songs from this version of the movie and the richer orchestral sound. Great job!

  2. Tiago
    April 7, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    It’s a pretty good score, although I still think that Pocahontas is the masterpiece of Menken’s career.

    Also, there’s a tiny little moment for oboe on “The Library” that’s quite similar to one heard on “They’re Back”, from James Newton Howard’s The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1.

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