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Soundtrack review: Tale of a lake (Panu Aaltio – 2016)


Soundtrack review: Tale of a lake (Panu Aaltio – 2016)


“Tale of a lake” (original “Jarven tarina”) is A documentary about Finnish lakes, the nature around them, circulation of water and ancient Finnish mythology. I guess there’s no better topic for the country they call “The land of a thousand lakes”. This is a sequel to “Tale of a forest” (“Metsan tarina”) from 2012. I liked that score by Panu Aaltio and he is back to enchant us once again. I expect this one to be a little more reflective than the celebration of life that was the first score.

And what could be more enchanting than an opening cue that features angelic vocals and a melody that makes me think of the most beautiful fairytales. “Ahitar: the water spirit” symbolizes a lot of the things I love about film music and a cue like this is the shortest way to my heart. I almost feel I want to stay here for a long time and not even explore the score further because this theme is just magical.

It’s a good thing that I continue the musical journey though. The wonders that like ahead never cease. The spectacular “Spring brook” which makes me feel reborn… then the main theme “Tale of a lake” which once again invites me into a fairy tale land where there’s nothing but love and kindness. I am just charmed by every note of this score. I enjoy the emotional, I enjoy the magical and I enjoy the playful cues which make me wish I was in the recording studio when the orchestra was bringing Panu Aaltio’s creation to life.

But for me it’s Johanna Kurkela’s voice that brings that extra element that will set this score apart from others. Her magnificent voice fills my heart with nostalgia and adds another dimension to music which is already wonderful. This score makes me dream, remember, wish… this score shows a fantasy world which will make reality seem bleak for a while.

I don’t even know where to look first and what to talk about because “Tale of a lake” brings so many feelings and emotions. How can I not mention “A family divided” with its blissful strings? Or the waltz in “Bug ballet”? I can only imagine how this score will feel in the context of the documentary and I want to see it.

The most fascinating thing about nature is its variety both from the species point of view and from the vegetation point of view. I hear the same variety in Panu Aaltio’s score. The composer somehow managed to put in notes everything that’s wonderful and intriguing about life, about nature, and created one of the most beautiful and fascinating scores I’ve heard lately. I hope as many people as possible will be exposed to this score because their lives will feel a little bit richer because of it.

Cue rating: 96 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 54 / 63

Album excellence: 86%


Ahitar: The Water Spirit

Tale of a Lake

Hide and Seek

First Morning


A Family Divided

Bug Ballet

The Spawn

Frog Wrestling

Coming of the Fall


The Gulls and the Eagle

The Birds’ Farewell

Under the Frozen Surface

Life in the Depths

Crab Guardians

Seal Pup

The Water Cycle

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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