Film scores

Soundtrack review: Peter and Wendy (Maurizio Malagnini – 2015)

“Peter And Wendy” is a 2015 television family drama film directed by Diarmuid Lawrence and starring Stanley Tucci, Laura Fraser and Paloma Faith. This version establishes a dramatic connection with Great Ormond Street, the world famous children’s hospital that has become irrevocably associated with Peter Pan. The story will be retold through the imagination of a young girl named Lucy who is about to receive hospital treatment for a serious heart condition. This is Lucy’s version of Peter Pan, the startling fantasy of a brave, imaginative and utterly modern young girl who fears her illness might mean that she, like Peter Pan, may never grow up. Lucy dreams this version of Peter Pan into existence after reading the novel late on the night before her operation, when her weakened heart is already beginning to fail. This is why she identifies with it so deeply, why her imagination works upon it so powerfully – and why we care so much about her story. The score is composed by Maurizio Malagnini.

Malagnini made a big impression of me with his score for “The paradise” earlier in 2015. Paradise is how this score sounds when it opens. Wow the wave of magic, of beauty, of melody… the flute… the strings that make me feel like I’m flying… “Great Ormond Street Hospital” is one of those moments when I believe magic is real. I am part of this fairytale and I never want to leave it and grow up. When a score like this comes along (and, coincidence or not, regardless of the presentation or composer, the Peter Pan story seems to be involved somewhere) I am just grateful for it and I strip away everything that makes me an adult. I just dream and play and imagine and remember and close my eyes and look for the creatures my imagination thinks of.

I would love to hear this score not in the context of the movie but played in a concert hall. I would love to see the choir, to see the flute section rise, to see the cymbals and the brass section, to see the joy on the face of every soloist and performer; I’m sure this would enhance even more my experience with this gorgeous score. This right here is all Neverland is about; Maurizio Malagnini puts in notes every single childhood dream and fantasy. There are no limits to the imagination, to the joy and to the playfulness. A cue like “The flight to Neverland” goes right up there with my favorite Harry Potter themes in the hall of fame of magical cues.

With this exuberance of fairy dust, with the emotional parts and with the purely orchestral wonder the composer created for us, “Peter and Wendy” is one of the most beautiful and exciting scores I heard this year. You can tell the composer took this one personally and poured his soul into these wonderful notes we hear.

Cue rating: 95 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 54 / 66

Album excellence: 82%

Highlights:

2_great Ormond Street Hospital

3_the Hospital Museum

4_receiving The Book

6_the Flight To Neverland

7_lucy’s Dream

8_captain Hook

10_keep Your Eyes Open

12_lucy Is Alive

14_bedtime For The Children

15_the Execution

17_the First Fight

18_the Kite

19_what If Something Goes Wrong

20_hook Poisons The Medicine

21_tinkerbell Drinks The Poison

22_i Believe In Fairies

24_the Final Fight

25_the Death Of Captain Hook

26_peter’s Farewell

27_leaving The Hospital

28_peter And Wendy

 

About the author

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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