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Soundtrack review: Yellowstone (Edmund Butt – 2009)


Soundtrack review: Yellowstone (Edmund Butt – 2009)


“Yellowstone” is a BBC nature documentary series broadcast from 15 March 2009. Narrated by Peter Firth, the series takes a look at a year in the life of Yellowstone National Park, examining how its wildlife adapts to living in one of the harshest wildernesses on Earth. Yellowstone debuted on BBC Two at 8:00pm on Sunday 15 March 2009 and has three episodes. Each 50-minute episode was followed by a ten-minute film called Yellowstone People, featuring visitors to the Park and locals who had assisted the production team. The series was the channel’s highest-rated natural history documentary in over five years with audiences peaking at over four million. 7 years later we get the release of the score by Edmund Butt.

I’ve watched a lot of nature documentaries and I’ve always enjoyed their scores because usually the composers go down the evocative and ambient road which I love so much. In this case Edmund Butt opens with something bolder than I expected. “Winter in Yellowstone” is a beautiful theme worthy of a movie with a lot of characters and drama. But maybe this is how life in that park feels for the wildlife. it’s not just that though; it’s also the British way of scoring TV. I haven’t heard a British TV score, no matter what the genre, that was superficial or generic. The music usually has meaning, depth and elegance and this is the case here. If I close my eyes as I listen to this beautiful score I can imagine a period piece about life at some castle.

I love the purity of the music. I don’t know how else to describe it but the music is just clean lie the surface of a lake. There’s nothing artificial in it; just the orchestra putting in sound the feelings that he composer wanted to relay to us. This score makes me want to see the documentary because completing this beautiful music with some gorgeous images would make for quite an enjoyable experience. The music is spectacular and inviting and opens broad perspectives. The composer doesn’t contain it and lets it just fly freely over mountain tops and plains and we are part of this journey.

“Yellowstone” is one of those beautiful and exquisite scores that will leave a mark. It doesn’t stray from its path; you won’t find epic or dramatic moments that might break its natural flow. I didn’t need them though. This was a fluent and relaxing listening experience that just warmed my heart and renewed my determination to listen to as many film and TV scores I can. I wouldn’t want to miss a composition like this.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 34 / 59

Album excellence: 57%


1 Winter In Yellowstone

4 The Firehole River

5 Humming Birds In Flight

6 Pronghorn Migration

8 Yellowstone

10 New Spring

12 Frozen Bison

14 Super Volcano

15 Thermal River

18 Colours Of Autumn

19 Old Faithful



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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