Fantastic Fives: sound of magic

Wyrd & Wonder - Celebrate The Fantastic (1-31 May 2023)

Hey, how is it Sunday again already? I’m not sure where this week went, but we’ve hit the end of it so it’s time for a Wyrd & Wonder Fantastic Five. This week, we’re asking about songs that you associate with magic and as a heathen who very rarely listens to music I’m sidestepping the prompt…

I grew up in a very quiet house. While I went through a patch of listening to music in my teens and early twenties, these days I rarely even put music on when I’m driving long distance (I’d rather listen to an audiobook) and my home is serene and silent most of the time. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy music – I do, I just don’t think to listen to it. The right music can destroy me in the best possible way, which brings us to today’s topic. What music gets under my skin, makes me well up, is entirely magical? Film soundtracks. Well, not all of them, but the good ones. So hell yes, I’m grabbing today’s prompt as an excuse to celebrate some fantasy favourites…

Concerning hobbits

There was no way I was ever going to be able to talk about fantasy soundtracks without referencing Howard Shore’s brilliant contribution to The Lord of The Rings, so let’s get it out there. While I adore the themes, it’s Concerning Hobbits that is – unlikely as it may seem – the track most likely to have me burst into tears (thanks ClassicFM, this is why I don’t listen to music while I drive).

No Man’s Land

Harry Gregson-Williams has banged out plenty of excellent score, but younger brother Rupert gets the nod from me for his work on Wonder Woman. Plenty of strings, enough bass to keep Hans Zimmer happy, and some hopeful brass where it’s called for. And while it may not be the music that makes me cry at No Man’s Land and Veld every damn time it certainly helps.

Buckbeak’s Flight

Hiring John Williams to write your soundtrack is always cheating. He’s probably responsible for getting me excited about soundtracks in the first place, the king of grand and iconic themes. Would Harry Potter be Harry Potter without Hedwig’s Theme? Well, yes, but it would be poorer for it. I think some of his best contributions were to Prisoner of AzkabanBuckbeat’s Flight is another track that reliably provokes ocular dampness.

Nostalgic joy

Would I have loved the Jurassic Park theme as much as I did if I hadn’t already fallen for Willow‘s transitions between bold brass and intricate strings? Probably, but that’s not to take anything away from James Horner’s enormous score for this childhood favourite. Willow’s theme still puts a huge smile on my face, and I love the threatening twist of strings associated with Bavmorda and her minions.

Dance magic

…what, did you really think this twist on the week’s topic wasn’t just an excuse to get in my Labyrinth feels? Ha! The all-singing, all-dancing, tight-trousered Goblin King is the ultimate purveyor of fantastic soundtracks and there’s an oubliette out there for anyone who disagrees. Altogether now: you remind me of the babe

What are some of your favourite fantasy film soundtracks?


Flying witch artwork by astromoali.ย 

Magic portal artwork by Tithi Luadthong.ย 

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