Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! The Magic of Music in CINDERELLA
While you may already know that Kenneth Branagh is the director of Disney’s live-action Cinderella (opening this Friday), you might not know that the composer for the film’s original music is Patrick Doyle. You also might not know that this will be the eleventh time that Doyle and Branagh will have teamed together. All of the music on the soundtrack (save for the last two tracks: “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and, “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” both by Jerry Livingston) was written by Patrick Doyle.
After listening to the new score for Disney’s live action adaptation of Cinderella, you could tell that the Doyle/Branagh partnership brought about a certain magic that only a good team-up can bring!
First, each track evokes the emotion, and, the snippet of each story line which they accompany. This is probably my favorite part of any film score. However, the best part about Cinderella’s score is that even though the tracks do give a glimpse into the upcoming movie, the pieces are not exclusive to their enjoyment! As singular pieces of classically influenced music, they serve wonderfully as accompaniment for reading and dancing—which brings me to my second favorite point:
The waltzes and polkas are worthy of a dance class! I say this as someone who, while lacking great rhythm, enjoys ballroom dancing (not an expert, but one who enjoys). “Valse Royale,” a.k.a, Royal Waltz, is peppy, and gives an inquisitive feeling—it eludes to being the piece that we’ll hear while the camera pans around the room showing everyone in attendance. While, “La Valse De L’Amour,” or the Waltz of Love, is lovely and perfectly romantic, and evokes the image of Cinderella dancing with the prince (and, based on the track order, one can easily surmise this to be the case). The polkas are effervescent and enjoyable…and though I am NOT a polka fan, “La Polka de Paris” is fun, and not overwhelmingly tuba-laced. In fact, the score’s main focus appears to be stringed instruments, which help give a magical vibe—like fairies (the godmother types of course) flitting about.
My favorite pieces, however, are those that revolve around the pumpkin carriage (I’ve nicknamed these three tracks: The Transformation Suite cause they fit so perfectly together)! Starting with slow build in “Fairy Godmother,” which is a transforming piece by itself starting slow, and emotional, but ending in a subtle (and brief) crescendo of strings and choral (you know, the parts usually played when the heavens open up?) interludes. Second is “Pumpkins and Mice,” which sounds very busy—almost as if something is definitely happening, and capping off with jubilee for what’s been accomplished! Wrapping up the suite is “You Shall Go;” this is up tempo, happy, and gives a sense of urgency (probably the music being played when Cinderella is being given her strict curfew).
Of the 30 tracks on the motion picture soundtrack, only three are songs (versus orchestral compositions). Those three are “Strong,” sung by Sonna Rele; “A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes” sung by Lily James; and “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” sung by Helena Bonham Carter.
“Strong” is lyrically a sweet song. Rele’s vocals are lovely. The song can feel somewhat out of place in comparison to everything else—but the addition of the violins in the orchestration, keeps the overall theme ingrained in this more contemporary song. Here’s hoping that little kids (and adults) will replace “Let It Go” in their go to Disney repertoire with this. The lyrics are quite positive, and empowering. It would be a great workout-cool-down song!
Lily James’ cover is sweet, but not as vocally strong as the other two vocal tracks. It’s not bad. But it is different. Personally, I found it rather breathy, and felt a bit more like a wink and smile to the original, versus what one might expect for the film.
Helena Bonham Carter is an amazing actress, and musically, someone to be admired! The woman can sing in character! She does a great job of doing that here. While her version of the fairy godmother is different from the animated classic, you can tell she is owning her incarnation, and the fun that her character is meant to bring to the movie comes through on this track!
Overall, if you enjoy film scores, you will likely enjoy this soundtrack!