Hollywood Blockbusters 2, the latest compilation of film music from the Royal Philharmonic, explores scores from the last five years. The recordings here were captured in two studio sessions; one in December of 2012 and one in January of 2015. Nic Raine returns to the podium for this interesting collection of arrangements, some his own, some by Paul Bateman, and a host of others.
Most of the tracks come from more serious dramatic films, but a few unique animation scores show up as well. The disc opens with “Dragon Racing” from John Powell’s equally delightful sequel score How to Train Your Dragon 2. Later an interesting little suite from Nick Urata’s Paddington score provides a bit of unusual syncopation and comedy scoring that the orchestra seems to take to quite well, and there is an instrumental of “Let it Go” from Frozen as a penultimate track lending a more pop feel. That precedes the title Skyfall Bond song from Adele as a fitting close.
John Williams is featured in three selections from his dramatic scores for Lincoln, The Book Thief—with a beautiful piano opening by Andy Vinter, and War Horse. These are actually well done with their sweeping themes providing a nice contrast to the tracks they are lodged between. Johannsson’s beautiful score from The Theory of Everything is represented by the touching “Domestic Pressures” which is contrasted by “Time” from Zimmer’s Inception score. A brief flirtation with Broadway then occurs from selections to Into the Woods providing a lighter musical diversion. Music from The King’s Speech offers a glimpse at Desplat’s light and restrained style for a track which takes its name from the film’s title. Marianelli’s beautiful score for Anna Karenina is represented with the Russian-tinged waltz “Dance With Me.” Fantasy fans get a brief nod as well with the inclusion of Shore’s moving “Ironfoot” from The Battle for Five Armies which adds chorus.
What makes this release work is its well-conceived sequencing of musical styles from these contemporary films. A good sense of individual composer voices is quite discernible throughout. The choices are engaging and of course excellently performed with gorgeous sound and vibrant interpretations. It really is yet another of many highlights from the RPO one that will make you want to go back and listen to many of the scores represented here.