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Sleepy Hollow
Elfman pours on the gothic power. -Isaac Engelhorn (11/7/2001)
Track List:
  1. Introduction
  2. Main Titles
  3. Young Ichabod
  4. The Story...
  5. Masbath's Terrible Death
  6. Sweet Dreams
  7. A Gift
  8. Into the Woods/The Witch
  9. More Dreams
  10. The Tree of Death
  11. Bad Dream/Tender Moment
  12. Evil Eye
  13. The Church Battle
  14. Love Lost
  15. The Windmill
  16. The Chase
  17. The Final Confrontation
  18. A New Day!
  19. End Credits

Total Time: (68:02)

Composed by:
Danny Elfman

Orchestrated by:
Conrad Pope,
David Slonaker,
Albert Olson,
Steve Bartek,
Mark McKenzie,
Marc Mann

Conducted by:
Allan Wilson

Performed by:
The Metro Voices,
The London Oratory School

1999 was a great year for film scores, not only did we have a new Star Wars score, most everything else was the best is had been since 1995. We saw releases of great scores like The Matrix, House on Haunted Hill, and Princess Mononoke, not to mention the fact that Jerry Goldsmith had his best year in ages, cranking out three scores, most notably of which was The 13th Warrior, even though his score to The Mummy proved to be more popular.

And in addition to all of that other greatness, we also had Danny Elfman's Sleepy Hollow, his return to the large orchestral, blockbuster style. Though there was plenty released that was terrific that year, this Elfman score ranks among the best produced in the close of our most recent millenium. What I personally think makes this score so great is its sheer power. Sleepy Hollow is certainly one of the loudest scores released in recent times, and I doubt that anyone would argue with me on that point.

While the main theme of Sleepy Hollow may not be the big, memorable melody that many people hope for, it is easy enough to spot and does an exemplary job of tying the entire work together. The best times to hear the theme, rather than during its huge gothic swellings, is when it is performed by a haunting solo female vocal in the "witch" tracks such as "Young Ichabod" and "Sweet Dreams". There are even parts that make the theme sound almost warm, like track 7, "A Gift" which presents the more tender side of the score.

Another aspect of the action is that, impossible as it may seem, it actually gets louder, dark, and more gothically brooding as it moves along. It builds and builds until it finally explodes in "The Final Confrontation", which is a track title that should certainly be familiar to Elfman fans by now. :-) After the action has finished, there is a rather beautiful piece of music as Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci enter the city and experience "A New Day!", but the end credits begin and stay very venomous in tone throughout, just to make sure you never forget the horror.

I liked the movie a lot, and the score compliments it quite well. If you first hear the music on the disc, you may get the feeling that it would interfere with the film, but since the movie itself goes so overboard in depicting darkness, every little bit of gothic power wrung from the orchestra is almost required to make the whole thing come together, and it does so brilliantly.

As mentioned, this is one of the best scores of 1999, it belongs in the collections of all film music fanatics, and to top it off, it's a nice, long release. It's still readily available in stores (and I suspect it will be for a while) so make sure you add Sleepy Hollow to your shopping list.

Pleasant dreams... ;-)

Sleepy Hollow is Copyright 1999 Hollywood Records. CD produced by Danny Elfman. Executive producers: Tim Burton, Scott Rudin, and Adam Schroeder. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.