Music from the Twilight Saga for Chamber Orchestra

Musical Score By: Carter Burwell, Alexandre Desplat, and Howard Shore

Arranged for Chamber Orchestra By: Dan Redfeld

Distributed by: BuySoundtrax Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I haven’t been a huge fan of the music from the Twilight series.  I’ve found that there are a few standout pieces, but for the most part, I could take it or leave it.  So, when I received Music from the Twilight Saga for Chamber Orchestra, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down in celebration.  But with Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 hitting the theaters and the surety that at least one of my friends would drag me to see the film, I figured that listening to the soundtrack might help to psyche me up to seeing the movie.

            Music from the Twilight Saga for Chamber Orchestra features twenty tracks pulled from the first three films based on Stephanie Meyer’s novels.  The music originally composed by Carter Burwell (Twilight), Alexandre Desplat (New Moon) and Howard Shore (Eclipse) is arranged for piano and strings by Dan Redfeld, a classically trained concert pianist, composer and conductor.  Studying at Boston’s New England Conservatory , Redfeld developed an interest in tonal, neo-romantic music.  Around the same time, he also developed an interest for film music thanks to the works of John Williams.  After meeting Williams through Redfeld’s mentor William Thomas McKinley and watching him work, Redfeld began composing musical scores for American Film Institute short films.

            In the case of this album, Redfeld’s job was not to compose the music, but to re-imagine it, taking it from the original orchestral composition and formulating it so it translated well into chamber orchestra music.  “I tried to translate the sound that you hear from a big orchestra, to distill it down to the basic elements and put it into a chamber setting,” explained Redfeld.  “I thought a lot about Mozart while I was adapting all of this music, and evoking the kind of clarity you hear in chamber music. I think it worked really well with these selections.”

            The resulting album is actually quite beautiful.  Remember that I started this article by saying that I had never thought the music of the Twilight series was anything to write home about.  Despite a couple of standout pieces, I was not impressed.  After listening to Music from the Twilight Saga for Chamber Orchestra, I found that I really enjoyed the music.  Bella’s theme is much more interesting when played solely by piano or strings with no other orchestral music in the background.  My favorite track on the album is The Meadow in which so much emotion is expressed - the themes are louder and played with so much feeling.  The music just reaches out and grabs you, pulling you in and transforming you.  I found myself smiling and phantom conducting throughout the track.

            So, not being a huge fan of the Twilight scores, this review should definitely give one pause.  I absolutely loved what Dan Redfeld did with the music of the Twilight movies.  Any fan of the Twilight saga who loved the music must put listening to Music from the Twilight Saga for Chamber Orchestra on the top of their list.  The music is much more striking when performed in this style.  I’m extremely happy to add this album to my soundtrack collection.


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