Music from Seasons One and Two

Music Composed By: Richard Marvin

Distributed by: La-La Land Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the NBC supernatural television series Grimm, Portland Homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) learns he is descended from the original authors of the Grimm's Fairy Tales.  After all these years of believing Grimm's Fairy Tales to be nothing but fictional and often times terrifying twist of the fairy tales of his youth, Nick is about to learn that the stories the brothers Grimm wrote were true.  There are real monsters in this world and only those of the Grimm family line can detect them and protect the world from their rein.  Grimm has enjoyed a successful run and, just in time for the series' third season opener, La-La Land Records has released Grimm: Music from Seasons One and Two.

                The music of Grimm is composed by American film composer Richard Marvin.  Beginning as a top studio keyboardist for such famous composers as Maurice Jarre, David Newman and Tom Newman, Marvin received his first co-composing opportunity from Mike Post in 1990, working on such well-known television series as Magnum P.I., Hard Castle and McCormick and Wiseguy.  Since then, Richard Marvin has amassed quite a résumé of composing credits creating the musical scores for such feature films as Surrogates, U-571, Breakdown and the 3 Ninjas series and television series such as Six Feet Under, Without a Trace, The OC and In Treatment

                For this series, Richard Marvin was approached with very specific instructions.  According to Marvin, "Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt both wanted to have a semi-classical, orchestral pallet for the score of Grimm, with some electronic colors and sound design for the dark and scary parts of the series.  They also wanted a taste of dark, weird fairy tale.  We had talked about scoring the show in a more 'cinematic,' old-fashioned style, opposed to a modern television series."  Marvin also revealed that, as the show uses multiple episodes to complete a story arc, he has decided to create themes for some of the show's recurring characters: "Every episode contains themes I have written for a lot of the show's characters.  There is also usually a theme for the creature that is featured in the episode.  Then there is an Aunt Marie theme, a search in the woods theme, an Adalind theme, a five families/Renard theme and several Nick and Juliette themes."

                The resulting score is a mix of dark and sad strings and high intensity action depending on what the storyline calls for.  The slower, more ominous moments of the score generally take place as Nick and the various supporting characters are investigating the strange mishaps taking place in Portland.  The more fast-paced strings, heavy percussion and brass tend to come in when Nick and the gang have their encounters with the various ogres, werewolves, etc that they come in contact with. 

                Watching the series, I always was intrigued by the musical score that accompanied it.  I found it to be it's own entity, somewhat adding to the storytelling of the visuals.  Listening to the score of both seasons on one album was quite an interesting experience, but I think that the experience was stunted a bit.  I question the way this album was laid out.  The music didn't appear in the order of episodes.  For example, the third track, Organ Grinder: Buying Gallbladder, is from the tenth episode of Season One.  The very next track, Game Ogre: How to Kill an Ogre is from the eight episode of that season and is followed by Beeware: Call of the Wild from the third episode of the season.  Also, tracks from Season One find there way to the end of the soundtrack, co-mingled with tracks from Season Two.

                And yet, I still can't say that I didn't enjoy the music found on Grimm: Music from Seasons One and Two.  Richard Marvin's scoring style is perfect for what Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt were looking for.  It describes the dark and scary moments of the show while giving life to the action sequences as well.  Fans of the television series will love getting their hands on this album and music aficionados will be quite happy with the scoring techniques of Richard Marvin.  At $16.00US for close to 79 minutes of excellent musical score, this album is quite a bargain and well-worth taking a listen to.


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