The Dark Crystal Sound Track

Album Information:
Composed By Trevor Jones
Performed by The London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Marcus Dods
Copyright 1982

Album Produced By Trevor Jones
Executive Producer Jim Henson
Warner Bros. Records, Inc,
a Warner Communications Company
Distributed by Universal Pictures and Associated Film Distribution Corporation

A limited edition 2-CD set has been released as of May 2003! Happiness! I found my copy at: www.moviemusic.com at a cost of $28 with shipping. The first CD contains the original album release and the second is the complete film score. The differences are that the original album provided the complete versions of each of the pieces, so that even if the movie version was cut off by, say a Garthem attack or a Crystal Bat :), the piece on the album continued through uninterrupted so that you hear more of the piece than what was in the movie. This is a very satisfying way to hear the music because it doesn't jarringly change in mid-beat or suddenly fade out completely. The Skeksis' Funeral scene is also included in the Original Album even though the scene was later cut from the movie. On the other hand, the fantastic aspect about the new film score (unreleased until now as I am aware), is that so much more of the music is available (71 min vs 41 min). All of the little interludes and more of the sound effects are there. I was especially pleased to hear the coral voices in the Finale sequence which were omitted in the original album.

The booklet that comes with the CDs is 12 pgs. There is a spread about the movie story line with small pictures from the movie (these are quite faded, but I'm being especially picky now), a spread about Trevor Jones, London Symphony Orchestra credits, movie and production credits, and finally a two page interview with Trevor Jones from 1987. The front cover shows the original Amsel movie art and the back cover has an image from the movie of Jen atop the dark crystal. It is an elegantly presented set and even the CD covers are very nice. Apparently, this is a limited edition set of only 5000 copies - I wish it was part of a wider release as these CDs are a real treat for fans who have waited so long. Thanks!


The Original LP Release

I found the LP of this soundtrack from Keith Zinkham's Records website after searching the internet for weeks on end. The front cover is quite a bit beat up, but I can't really complain because I'm so glad to finally have this thing.

What follows is taken directly from the back of the LP. As a note, this LP included an insert upon which the following was printed (This insert folds out into the movie poster by Brian Froud!):

The Story

"The distant world of The Dark Crystal is a place inhabited by fantastical beings unlike any we have ever known before. The good and wise Mystics have retreated into themselves and live within the protected Valley of the Stones. The cruel and greedy Skeksis, evil masters of the Dark Crystal, rule from a dark and brooding castle.

The Skeksis fear only one thing: an ancient prophecy foretelling the end of their reign at the hands of the Gelfling, a race of elfinlike creatures. To foil this, the Skeksis have created the dread Garthim warriors to eliminate all Gelfling from the world.

But unknown to the Skeksis, the Mystics have rescued a Gelfling child from Garthim claws and raised him with loving care. They call him Jen.

As The Dark Crystal opens, Jen is setting out on his adventure: to restore harmony to the world by finding a crystal shard and with it healing the Crystal at the moment of the Great Conjunction, when the world's Three Suns come together as one.

Jen's adventures are filled with danger as he travels through an alien wilderness landscape. The Skeksis learn of his existence, and, terrified that the ancient prophecy will be fulfilled, they send the Garthim warriors to track the Gelfling down and destroy him.

Meanwhile, Jen comes upon the observatory of Aughra, Watcher of the Heavens and Keeper of Secrets, and learns something of his destiny. The terrible Garthim attack, and to escape Jen plunges into the swamplands, lost and frightened by creatures of bizarre appearance. There he is astonished to meet Kira, a Gelfling girl, and realize that another of his kind is alive. Together, they continue on the journey, to the festive village of the Pod People, simple peasants who rescued and raised Kira; to the ancient ruins of the Gelfling; across barren deserts and over mountainous terrain atop Landstriders, beasts of swift passage Kira has tamed; then onward to the malevolent Castle of the Dark Crystal, to meet their fate."

"Read THE DARK CRYSTAL books from Alfred A. Knopf, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, and Marvel Comics."

The Dark Crystal Original Sound Track Recording Composed by Trevor Jones

"TREVOR JONES was raised in an entertainment environment (his family is involved in various aspects of theater, film, and television) in Cape Town, South Africa. At the age of five he decided he wanted to compose music for films, an ambition he has fulfilled. In 1967 he came to London to study on a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. He worked for four years at the BBC as a music reviewer for radio and television, and in 1974 he went to York University, from which he was graduated with a Masters Degree in Film and Media Music. Jones also studied at the National Film School, a three-year course of study in general filmmaking and film and sound technique. He continued there until 1980 as a composer- in-residence, and wrote the music for twenty-two student projects. In 1981 he wrote the score for the Academy Award-winning short film The Dollar Bottom and another short film The Black Angel. Jones has since created the sound tracks for the BFI production Brothers and Sisters and John Boorman's Excalibur."

"About the music for THE DARK CRYSTAL, Mr. Jones has written: 'From the very first in scoring the music for THE DARK CRYSTAL, I set out to find two melodic ideas -- one for the Mystics, the other fro the Skeksis. These two motifs, when counterpointed, fuse to become one, and in the Great Conjunction at the film's climax, they join to become the central theme.'

'In the Overture, this central theme is contrasted with the Landstrider motif, the nearest musical idea that not only provides good musical balance but, more important, reflects the fantasy world of the film; the melody line is played by one of over three hundred electronic sounds specially realized for the film on the Synclavier Computer, the Fairlight CMI Computer, and the Prophet Synthesizer, and used with traditional symphonic tone colors to heighten the orchestration. The Power Ceremony, which opens the film, fuses electronic sounds with the orchestration to provide a ritualistic and sinister atmosphere.'

'A synthesized organ accompanies the brass in the grandiose baroque setting of the Skeksis funeral. But the transition to the Mystic ceremony is made by a double-flageolet, an English Regency instrument acquired for the film because of its characteristic capability of simultaneously sounding two independent pitches. and in the feasting scene in the Pod Village the merry-making is to the music of such medieval instruments as the grumhorn, titin, and tabor. The modern okema tlaves and the double-flageolet complete a line-up spanning five centuries of instruments.'"

LORD GRADE Presents for ITC ENTERTAINMENT LTD a Jim Henson Film

Track Listing

SIDE ONE

OVERTURE (Trumpet Solo: Maurice Murphy)

THE POWER CEREMONY

"In the Crystal Chamber, the evil Skeksis encircle the Dark Crystal, absorbing its power in their Ceremony of Rejuvenation."

THE STORM

"A storm moves toward the Mystic Valley as Jen the Gelfling hurries to the cave of his dying Master."

THE MYSTIC MASTER DIES

"Heartbroken, Jen receives the instructions that send him on his quest, and watches as his Master peacefully dematerializes."

THE FUNERALS; JEN'S JOURNEY (Harp Solo: Skaila Kanga; Flageolet Solo: Christopher Taylor)

"The overblown pomp of the Skeksis Emperor's funeral contrasts with the introspective ritual of the Mystic Master's; Jen looks back on the Valley as he starts on his fateful journey."

THE SKEKSIS DUEL

"The clash of the Chamberlain and the General as they vie for leadership through the ritual of Sword on Stone."

THE POD DANCE (Percussion: Morris Perl; Solo Pipes: Richard Havey)

"Jen and Kira are welcomed at her home in the Pod village with a rousing feast."
SIDE TWO

LOVE THEME (Recorder Solo: Christopher Taylor)

"Jen and Kira, the last surviving Gelflings, bound together by their quest and by the love between them."

GELFLING SONG (Flageolet: Christopher Taylor; Singer: Catherine Bott; Environmentals' Synthesized Sounds Realized on the Fairlight Computer)

"Together they float for a magic and peaceful time down the Black River: Kira sings, Jen accompanies her on his flute."

THE GELFLING RUINS

"Having escaped from the cruel Garthim warriors, the Gelflings find themselves among their ancestral ruins."

THE LANDSTRIDER JOURNEY

"Kira summons the bizarre, long-legged Landstriders which bear them swiftly to the Castle."

THE GREAT CONJUNCTION

"The heroic Kira gives her all that Jen may heal the Crystal. As the Three Suns become one, chaos reigns and the Castle shudders in terrible and violent cataclysm."

FINALE

"For Jen and Kira, Mystics and Skeksis, Castle and Crystal, miraculous changes have been wrought. It is a time of great magic ...and great hope."

My Thoughts on some of these Tracks
(but I think every single piece is absolutely magnificent)

OVERTURE: This would have to be my favorite track of the album. It is a lush and deep theme riddled with mystery and power.

THE POWER CEREMONY: This is probably the darkest and most directly evil sounding of tracks on this album. You have to love it!

THE FUNERALS: I do not remember hearing this track in the movie, but has become one of my favorites on this album. The organs music is complex, pompous, and sinister. You can almost feel the neuroses of the Skeksis oozing out of this music.

THE POD DANCE: This is such joyous, foot-tapping music. I like that it is complete all of the way through to the logical end of this piece (it is not interrupted abruptly by the Garthim attack as it is in the movie).

GELFLING SONG: I loved this during the movie and this version is complete from beginning to end. The music fades in and out with nature sounds from the bog. The voice and flageolet interact beautifully with many more variations than are present in the movie. An exceptional track.

THE GELFLING RUINS: This piece is quite unsettling. Taking place when the Gelflings visit the ruins of their murdered ancestors. This piece illuminates the sickening emptiness where something beautiful once was. It is the musical reflection of Kira's sentiment: "Bad things ...happened in here once."

THE LANDSTRIDER JOURNEY: I wish, wish, wish that this piece was an extended version of what we heard in the movie, but alas, no such luck. This is a fantastic track full of life, speed, and whimsy.

THE GREAT CONJUNCTION: I liked that aside from the distractions of the Skeksis, Garthim, and Jen's jump to the crystal, the underlying pulsing which seems to resemble time marching on is woven through the phrases growing louder and louder until the moment of the Great Conjunction.

THE FINALE: This is a good recap of all of the major themes present in the sound track. It is the music that is heard in the movie during the end credits.


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Page last updated: May 10th, 2003