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Best Menken/Disney Musical Score

  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Which score is best?

    • The Little Mermaid
      4
    • Beauty and the Beast
      10
    • Newsies
      0
    • Aladdin
      5
    • Pocahontas
      3
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
      11
    • Hercules
      1
    • Enchanted
      0
    • Tangled
      0
    • Home on the Range
      0


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Please consider the efforts of both Menken and the lyricist(s) for each work.

1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

This score is almost perfect. The music and the lyrics are both endlessly entertaining and interesting in their own right, but together they work really well. A highpoint for vocal/musical collaboration is "Heaven's Light/Hellfire," but the whole score is great. The weakest link is "A Guy Like You," not because it's a bad song but because it doesn't mesh very well with the rest of the score. The use of Dies Irae, both the poem and the melody, is very effective. The underscore is fantastic too.

2. Pocahontas

The songs are gorgeous and thrilling and enchanting, and some of the underscore (i.e. "Farewell") is fantastic. Overall the underscore is the worst part, because often it feels like unnecessary repetitions of thematic ideas that don't really serve to progress the score in any way. There's also a good deal of cartoonish filler, which is understandable but not desirable. I haven't given much thought musically as to why this is so, but "If I Never Knew You" seems to harken back to some of John Williams' famous love themes (i.e. Han Solo and the Princess). The lyrics are fantastic again. I wish Menken continued his work with Schwartz, I vastly prefer their collaborations to Menken's collaboration with Ashman, Rice, or Slater.

3. Beauty and the Beast

Everything about this score is good, and some of it is great. But it never reaches the fantastic heights of Pocahontas or Hunchback, and while it is constant in quality, that quality is a notch lower than the latter. The title song is also probably one of the weaker main melodies for a Menken score (unless you consider the fantastic prologue theme to be the main melody of the score). Still, there's nothing bad about Beauty and the Beast.

4. The Little Mermaid

I really don't know as much about this one as I should. However, from what I do know it's a fun and imaginative work. Rhythmically there's a lot of interesting stuff going on, especially in "Kiss the Girl." And "Fathoms Below" is a great sea tune that seems to harken back to a different collective nostalgia than the rest of Menken's Broadway-influenced works.

5. Aladdin

There's some fun, energetic ideas in this score, but overall it doesn't hold up to other Menken works. The underscore is a little too cartoonish, and it lacks a really strong ballad to make the score anything more than a fun ride. "A Whole New World" is fine, but it's a far far cry from "Colors of the Wind" or "God Help the Outcasts," or even "Part of that World." It doesn't help that it's been overplayed in elements of pop culture. Still, it's a nice listen, mostly for the fanfares and bombast.

6. Tangled

Tangled has some highlights but overall it's pretty forgettable. It's a little too pop-influenced for my tastes. It's also pretty predictable, even for something from Disney. Songs like "When Will My Life Begin" or "Mother Knows Best" are just okay. On the other hand there are some really nice melodies, like "I've Got a Dream" and "I See the Light," which seem to be more Broadway-influenced (at least in the case of the former). The underscore has some thrilling moments, but I can't for the life of me remember how any of them go.

I do not own Hercules, Enchanted, or Newsies.

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I believe Beauty and the Beast is Menken's best score yet. It is has great and highly enjoyable set of songs with some fantastic underscore. Pocahontas comes in second.

I also agree with you on the point about Schwartz. He writes great songs for these animated films. I absolutely loved his work on The Prince of Egypt!

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I've never really cared too much of Menken's scores, to the point where I usually just listen to the songs anymore. With that in mind, I like them all more or less equally, but I'll go out on a limb and pick Hercules, partly because I find the use of gospel music inspired and because the lyrics are exceedingly clever.

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When it comes to songs, Aladdin is unbeatable for me, mostly due to nostalgic value ("Prince Ali" and "Friend Like Me" being my all-time favourites). But score-wise, though I adore all of them, I'll go with Hunchback Of Notre Dame. "Sanctuary" and "And He Shall Smite The Wicked" truly give me chills!

I''m looking forward to see him score some non-Disney films (Mirror, Mirror in March, for example) and his scores get a healthy, long release. :)

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In terms of pure, orchestral work, here are some of the highlights of Alan Menken's career:

* The Little Mermaid

* Beauty and The Beast

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxmVnaRodS4

* Aladdin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mY-m2nvXGQ

* Pocahontas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Yanq--MJs

* The Hunchback of Notre Dame

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8axNKiFETrk

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Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast for me (with BatB #1). I do love the music of Aladdin but the film doesn't hood up quite as well for me for some reason, though it is still an absolute classic. The other two plus Lion King have that "timeless" Disney quality, while some aspects of Aladdin leave it squarely in the 90's. I am thinking of some of the humor and Gilbert Godfried specifically.

The music is wonderful but BatB is tops for me. That intro alone is a favorite. I was thrilled to get it without the voiceover on the Music Behind the Magic set. :)

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I think Gottfried dates Aladdin as being 90s only because his career as of late has been spent either insulting contestants on Hollywood Squares or being extremely rude and insensitive in other places. Sure, he voiced the Aflac duck, until the second criterion caught up to him, but he hasn't done much since the 90s, making him feel very 90s.

But yes, BatB is awesome. I bought the soundtrack simply for the Transformation track which still gives me goosebumps.

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The music is wonderful but BatB is tops for me. That intro alone is a favorite. I was thrilled to get it without the voiceover on the Music Behind the Magic set. :)

Heck yeah. That set is awesome. Since we've never seen anything from Disney like that since (or even the Star Wars set from that same time period), I've always wondered how well it actually sold. I'm thinking not enough. But you can tell a lot of love went into that set.

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Well I must say that I love the scores to The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast (original and re-make believe it or not). These are my thoughts on each.

1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Glorious. A stupendous choral spectacular with songs and score beyond belief. Furious and dark at times, yet hopeful and enlightening still. The character Claude Frollo holds my favourite song- Heaven's Light/Hellfire- a fierce and resounding aria of sorts. The power of the lyrics and their excellent presentation are beyond spectacular. He Shall Smite the Wicked is my favourite track of score. Menken delivers in this choral masterpiece.

2. Beauty and the Beast

Splendid. The original was always an instant classic for me but I must say I have just watched and listened to the remake. I am most pleased with the film and score. Menken allows the themes to flourish and the new renditions of the songs are splendid. The audio often sounds like it was recorded in a box but fortunately it doesn't interfere with the great work. Luke Evans actually has a very good voice and all others hold true. The original on the other hand is just as highly esteemed in my eyes. Quite good.

 

I'd be curious to see what a Hunchback remake might look like. New recordings, another chance for Menken to dazzle us once again. The casting in BatB was right on, but what would a Hunchback remake look like? I always thought Ben Mendelssohn could be a convincing Frollo. There's even a line in the original that goes something like "Oh look it's Phoebus back from the dead." which is quite funny to think about because Mendelssohn's part in Rogue One echoes a line like that. It is a dangerous path, remakes. But the Beauty and the Beast remake didn't stray very far and was quite enjoyable for the most part. Who knows. Some things are best left untouched.

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The only possible choice for the best one is the rich Beauty and The Beast, with Little Mermaid and Pocahontas, both having many wonderful moments, as runners-up. The Overture for the live action Beauty and The Beast might be a short reminder for those, who fail to recall why.

 

Hunchback's score has been built so, as if the entire ceiling of Notre Dame rested on one cue (the very decent but overextended Hellfire). The rest is meh, with the exception of Shostakovich's-Dance of The Colonial Slave Girl-alike dance for Esmeralda.

 

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As I've been watching tons of Disney movies with my kid, many for the first time, I've also been building up my soundtrack collection.  Been grooving on the Legacy Collections of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and the digital soundtracks for Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Snow White.

 

A bit surprised - I couldn't find a good release of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

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4 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

I voted Pocahontas

The songs are culturally insensitive, but yes the score is great.

5 hours ago, Fabulin said:

The only possible choice for the best one is the rich Beauty and The Beast, with Little Mermaid and Pocahontas, both having many wonderful moments, as runners-up. The Overture for the live action Beauty and The Beast might be a short reminder for those, who fail to recall why.

Simply stunning work yes!

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3 hours ago, mstrox said:

As I've been watching tons of Disney movies with my kid, many for the first time, I've also been building up my soundtrack collection.  Been grooving on the Legacy Collections of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and the digital soundtracks for Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Snow White.

 

A bit surprised - I couldn't find a good release of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

 

"Look at this stuff; isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?"

 

Do you know Pooh's Grand Adventure? (the direct-to-video sequel) It's score is also amazing, although of a completely different mood. :) 

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