Music From The Walt Disney/Pixar Films Up, Ratatouille, The Incredibles
For Solo Piano

Composed by: Michael Giacchino

Performed By: Mark Northam and Joohyun Park

Distributed by: BuySoundtrax Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            New Jersey-born composer Michael Giacchino began his foray into the music world at the age of ten, putting music to stop-motion filmshe created on his brotherís pool tableat home.  Later, he attended the School of Visual Artsin New York, majoring in film production, and the Juilliard Schoolwhere he studied music.  Working for Disneyat various locales, he was approached to create a musical score for the Dreamworks InteractivePlaystationgame, The Lost World: Jurassic Parkand things took off from there.  Since then, Giacchino has composed musical scores for Alias, The Incredibles, Lost, Fringe, Mission Impossible III, Speed Racer, Cloverfield, Let Me In, Medal of Honor, Call of Dutyand more.  He received an Academy Award for his composition of the musical score of Up

            On January 24, 2012, BuySoundtrax Records released Music From The Walt Disney/Pixar Films Up, Ratatouille, The Incredibles For Solo Piano featuring tracks from all three films re-interpreted for solo piano and performed by Mark Northam and Joohyun Park.  Mark Northam has been playing the piano since age 4, with a focus on jazz formulated in his teenage years.  Selected by ASCAP for the ASCAP Fred Karlin FIlm Scoring Workshop, Northam has gone on to create Film Music Magazine, the Film Music Network and the Film Music Institute in Los Angeles.  Joohyun Park has been studying music since the age of six and received a Bachelor's and Master's Degree of Piano from Yon Sei University in Seoul, Korea and a Bachelor's Degree of Contemporary Writing and Production from Berkley College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.  She has since worked as score coordinator, pianist, orchestrator and assistant composer on such notable films as Priest, The Informers, Drag Me To Hell, Creation, When in Rome, The Black Tulip, and Love Happens and is a featured performer on the album Music from Battlestar Galactica for Solo Piano.

            I'm a sucker for any solo piano performance, believing the piano to be one of the most beautiful sounding, expressive instruments in the world.  Thus, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album.  My favorite tracks appear in the first half of the album which features twelve compositions from the movie, Up.  In fact, Up receives the most focus on this album and rightfully so, this being the score Giacchino won an Academy Award for.  The main theme of the music give one the idea of floating off on cloud nine.  During Married Life, I can actually picture the beautiful montage of Carl and Ellie's life in the film.  The scene is so important to the movie and Carl's love of Ellie and their life together is a central theme throughout.  Played by a full orchestra for the film, the musical score of this film lends itself perfectly to re-interpretation by Mark Northram on solo piano.

            These tracks are followed by the wistful European flare of Ratatouille and the action-packed jazzy production of The Incredibles.  Mark Northram took on Ratatouille and Jooyhun Park re-interpreted The Incredibles.  Both segments were a great deal of fun, but they didn't seem to impress me as much as the earlier track from Up.

            All-in-all, Music From The Walt Disney/Pixar Films Up, Ratatouille, The Incredibles For Solo Piano was an enjoyable listen.  I would have been happy with just the music from Up, but the rest of the album was also enjoyable.  Fans of Giacchino's work will want to get their hands on this album, if only to see how beautiful his compositions are even without the aid of a full orchestra.


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