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Soundtrack review: The secret garden (Zbigniew Preisner – 1993)

Composer of the month Polish composer month

Soundtrack review: The secret garden (Zbigniew Preisner – 1993)



“The secret garden” movie has a story similar to that of “A little princess”, so I’m expecting a great score.

The beginning completely blows me away with the pan flute. I am particular to this instrument since it’s one of our national instruments and I love to hear it played on a score. Here, it’s used to convey the oriental atmosphere. The second cue, “Leaving the docks”, dives even deeper in a gentle, suave Asian mood and the flute here is divine. If the score keeps going on like this, we have a winner…

The piano is simple and efficient. Preisner does a brilliant thing in “Mary downstairs”. Each piano motif from the cue ends with it morphing into a guitar note. I’ve never heard anything quite like it, the effect is marvelous. Each motif lives in two worlds.

The similarities with “A little princess” return in “Walking through the garden” which includes a beautiful children’s choir. The garden really sounds like a magical place now. The Asian strings, so sensitive and romantic, make the score sound dreamy and they put me in a very good mood. Preisner uses the right instruments here. Each improvisation sounds innocent and careful. The piano pieces don’t flow uninterrupted, but I love how that incertitude sounds. The children’s blissful choir returns in “Awakening of spring” and I’m already living a fairytale… I can almost see the green and smell the first flowers when I hear this track. It’ still cold but everything is defrosting and coming back to life.

I consider “Taking Colin to the garden” to be fullest development of the main theme of the movie, a beautiful orchestral theme, tender and heartwarming. I can’t get enough of it. Then again innocent choirs, gentle strings…
”The secret garden” is a truly magical score, a wonderful dream journey, a sanctuary for times when you need a little magic in your life. It is truly worth a listen, maybe on a beautiful December day when everything is fresh and white…

Cue rating: 88/100

Total minutes of excellence: 28/31

Album excellence: 89%


Main Title

Leaving The Docks

Mary Downstairs

First Time Outside

Walking Through The Garden

Mary And Robin Together

Awakening Of Spring

Taking Colin To The Garden

Colin Opens His Eyes

Craven To The Garden

Colin Senses Craven

Happily Ever After

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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