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"Robert Folk hands out his best"

Review by Thomas Glorieux:

I don't know how to look upon this 2 CD composer's piece and how the suites ever were presented, it looks like a composer's compilation best off and yet, more or less that is exactly what it is. A great asset of the scores Folk became famous for and those nobody heard of yet. And its amazing to discover that his most unknown pieces come off sounding sometimes even more charming than those released, while others benefit so much more from a suite than their full representation on CD. And its here where Folk's music truly soars. Starting we do with
the suite for The Thief and the Cobbler or basically known as Arabian Knight. And its a suite that does the score more justice, because its a riveting suite that basically tosses away the dead moments and puts in the soaring ones. With an eerie opening, a riveting orchestral piece of Williams adventure and a Battle Beyond the Stars playfulness, the orchestral rushing parts may seem unmelodic, but they are so goddamn riveting its a feast to hear them again and again. With Toy Soldiers we reach however Folk's most beloved score, and its no surprise why. A superb action score full of melodic thrills and great heartfelt emotion, its a rollercoaster ride of brass, heroism and pumping action music and this suite delivers just a part of it, in sheer adrenaline style. The first part is more based on the emotion and darker moments but the second part suddenly explodes in sheer brevity. With the wonderful ethereal theme the suite for The NeverEnding Story II opens, and then flute and growing fantasy music enlightens the score, here again the brass whirls ala Battle Beyond the Stars is heard, sadly the action music is not as exciting enough as in The Thief and the Cobbler, even though it sounds amazingly difficult, it reminds me the most of the action music of Beastmaster 2, more what's not present in this suite is the brilliant, utter brilliant rise of the emperor's theme and that enlightens any score. Still, another more than accomplished piece of work of Folk we hear here.

The highlight alongside Toy Soldiers however is the never released music of Tremors, alongside Ernest Troost Robert Folk handled the more orchestral rousing color from the second part on. The moment the cool Texan music left the screen for more orchestral suspense music, that was Robert Folk solely doing his task. And take it from me, how groovy Troost insertions are, Folk's rouses are among his best and most brilliant compositions of his era. Especially the color he gives to the adventure theme is a rollercoaster ride and his music here is of vital necessity if ever the composed music of the film gets released. His suspense is cool, his bizarre harmonica use is striking for eerie effects, his orchestral carnages are ugly yet powerful, his scene vistas are catchy and the thrill of the final minutes are pure Toy Soldiers exhilaration, Tremors is a hoot and pure 80' orchestral fun. A Troll in Central Park was an animation film of Don Bluth (the maker of An American Tail, Secret of NIMH and Land before Time) and Gary Coldman, long forgotten now but remarkable because of Folk's role in the musical proceeding, considering James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith and David Newman colored his films with more commercial success. However Folk opens strong with a choral wash ala Horner before he tinkles further with flutes and whirling strings, but above all his emotional music is divvying with choir (ala NeverEnding Story II and Warriors of Virtue) and yet the comical music is too silly after what you just heard. However the other music is mostly exiting with some cool fanfares and moments. With Miles from Home (actor Gary Sinise's directorial debut) Folk drives home a more serious piece of work, covering his fanfares and whirling strings in the begin and later more restrained work for the guitar mostly or the piano (stating the fantasy theme of NeverEnding Story II around the 11.30 marker). Its a restrained yet interesting piece of Folk, away from the bombast which he was known for.

The Planets or the music Folk wrote for besides Gustav Holst's famous classical repertoire is actually above all intriguing, mainly written for romantic surging strings and blossoming brass, it doesn't sound at all like Folk and that's why its so intriguing. Not his best, but surely one of his more rewarding works. Can't Buy me Love is one of the so many romantic teen comedies of the '80, and Folk kept it likeable and digestible, easygoing and both lightly dramatic and optimistic. His Police Academy music will probably remain his most known music he's written, and the fanfare alone still remains to this day catchy as hell. Sadly this compilation shows not the music from the first movie, but the music from most of the Academy films, centering around the theme but then in variations. It remains fun however and his brassy style serves the theme still at its best, especially the exciting action music in the middle. Yet as said, I would kill a bug to have the last 30 minutes of the original first film, with the cool change of tone to more serious action music. Alas, a Club release anyone? And last but not least is a To Dream of Roses, a short animation film of the '90 and is completely forgotten today. However Folk's music is far from unworthy, covering lovely ala Horner flute moments, some nice orchestral flourishes and overall a feel far from Micky Mousing, or it has to be the orchestral rousing action music around the 7th minute. The final is a nice whirling finish and shows Folk once again at his best. As you see, Folk is still one of those composers who deserves way more attention, always focused upon the orchestra's skills and the demands of the movie, he never loses his thematic voice and if so, he makes it unbelievably complex and powerful. Together its a testament Robert Folk has given us rewarding music and just a small portion of his best and most intriguing are present on this excellent 2 CD mix.


Tracks Double Disc

Disk One: 77.04

1. The Thief And The Cobbler (13.06)    Excellent Track

2. Toy Soldiers (13.49)    Excellent Track

3. The NeverEnding Story II (18.27)

4. Tremors (16.59)    Excellent Track

5. Troll In Central Park (14.33)


Disk Two: 77.19

1. Miles From Home (21.55)

2. The Planets  (20.31)

3. Can't Buy Me Love (10.06)

4. Police Academy (9.14)    Excellent Track

5. To Dream Of Roses (15.39)    Excellent Track


The use of artwork or photos is posted for non profitable reasons

=== Link to Composer Site: Robert Folk ===

Original Compilation of Soundtracks by Robert Folk





Also See:

Arabian Knight

The Never-Ending Story 2

Police Academy

Toy Soldiers