Frozen Planet

Composed By: George Fenton

Distributed by: Silva Screen Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In 2012, I watched an amazing documentary series on Discovery Channel called Frozen Planet.  The nature documentary, co-produced by the BBC, Discovery Channel and The Open University, first aired in the UK in 2011 prior to being shown in the United States and centers on life and the environment in both the Arctic and Antarctic.  I thought the series was incredibly stunning visually and found that the documentary revealed quite a bit that I didn't know about the wildlife in these frozen zones.  When I was recently offered the opportunity to review the documentary's soundtrack, I couldn't wait to hear it again without the visual backdrop.

                The musical score of Frozen Planet was created by British composer George Fenton.  He began his composing career in the mid-1970s, creating musical scores for British theater, but he is best known for his work in film and television scoring.  The award-winning composer has created over one hundred musical scores for such notable films as Gandhi, Cry Freedom, The Fisher King and Groundhog Day and notable television series such as The Trials of Life, Blue Planet and Planet Earth.

                The music of any wildlife documentary is designed not only to fill in those moments during which the narrator takes a break from storytelling, but as a tool to emphasize what is being seen on screen.  I remember finding the score of Frozen Planet to be perfectly matched with what was going on during the series when I first watched it.  Now, listening to the soundtrack, I was transported back to those moments, perfectly capable of visualizing what I had seen accompanying moments in the musical score.

                I loved the huge orchestral opening track, despite it's short length.  There was a sense of something big and interesting about to be revealed.  There are moments in this soundtrack where the vast, majestic beauty of nature in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are accentuated through the orchestral sound.  Light and airy melodies are used to accentuate the playful moments among the regions' inhabitants like the penguins, polar bear cubs and owlets.  Of course, moments in the wild are not all about play and those dangerous and often violent moments are perfectly illustrated through the use of darker, faster tones.

                Even if you have never seen the documentary series, the Frozen Planet Soundtrack is a thing of beauty.  As an accompaniment to the visuals of the documentary, the musical score is absolutely perfect, but as a stand alone album, George Fenton serves up a highly enjoyable musical score that any music aficionado would be happy to own. 


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