War Horse (Cast Album)

Music By: Adrian Sutton

Lyrics By: John Tams

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted for stage by Nick Stafford, the dramatic theatrical show called War Horse takes place during World War I.  A boy named Albert loses his favorite horse Joey to the cavalry.  Shipped to France, Joey soon finds himself in the line of fire, on a courageous journey in which Joey ends up serving both sides of the war.  Albert can't forget the horse he loves and has vowed to find him.  Despite being too young to enlist in the army, Albert is determined to complete his mission to find Joey and bring him home.  A tale of love, loyalty and friendship, War Horse, well-known for its use of life-sized horse puppets, has won five Tony Awards, including Best Play, a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Play, and a Drama Desk Special Award “for thrilling stagecraft.”  The play's soundtrack was released by Masterworks Broadway on January 24, 2012.

            The soundtrack of War Horse features music by Adrian Sutton and lyrics by John Tams.  Adrian Sutton is a British composer whose musical career began after graduating with a musical degree from Goldsmiths College. Although Sutton has worked in other medium, the bulk of his work has been for the theater.  John Tams is a British musician, singer, songwriter and composer.  Tams has worked in numerous genre over the years and is described by Mojo Music Magazine as "one of the ultimate British songwriters."

            I'd heard much about War Horse and was so intrigued by the story and artistry of the play that I wanted to see it.  I had already listened to John William's musical score of the movie adaptation and couldn't wait to hear the musical score of the play to compare the two.  That was my mistake - the two could never be compared.  I was wholly unprepared for the soundtrack of the play. 

            Yes, I expected the down to earth sounds representing the small town of Devon and I expected the harsh music of the battlefield, but I was wholly surprised by the folk music to be found on this album.  Well-written and catchy folk songs like Only Remembered, Learning to Plough, Wheel of Fortune, The Scarlet and the Blue and Goodbye Dolly Grey may have a sad tinge to them, but represent some of the most enjoyable moments on the soundtrack and basically tell the story of the play through their lyrics. 

            After listening to the soundtrack of the play version of f f War Horse, I am more determined than ever to see it.  The musical score is extremely well done, the lyrics are catchy and tell the story and the artistry of the puppets (from the bits and pieces I've seen) is nothing short of amazing.  But for now, I will have to settle with listening to the cast album of War Horse again and again.  


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