A Little Princess

Patrick Doyle

" Welcome to Theme Heaven "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Patrick Doyle has scored some beauties in his career, but I feel that A Little Princess is more then simply beautiful. It is simply astonishing to hear such a brilliant theme inside an already enriching orchestral soundtrack. It is discovered before a full blown action piece and some lovely, playful waltzes, it gives you everything you wanted from a score in the first place. And we commence with the beginning, offering the waltzes and Indian music which explores the boundaries of these settings portrayed as visions and stories.

The begin of the score uses many short moments, sometimes not even 30 seconds long. "Children Running" and "Tyger Tyger" are examples of this. The waltz discovered in the 3rd track is hugely impressive, offering a whimsical heart alongside Doyle's classical sound. Doyle also uses the London Children's choir though sparsely. The first appearance of them is found in the eight track "Angel Wings". The soft choral pieces often underscore the harder emotional scenes, representing the hard time when Emilia finds out that her father, though not true has died. It is not until track 19 that the music becomes utterly gorgeous, first with the song performed by the main character of the movie, Liesel Matthews.

The song is constructed in the line of Hook’s song. It is very good, though sometimes like in Hook little Matthews can not support each note on the clearest way. This only during the last track, because it seems that Doyle's daughter is performing the song during the 19th track.

But it is the main theme that is the true orchestral gem of the score. These moments are to be treasured considering they are some of the most gorgeous melodies Doyle has ever written. Tracks like "Touched by an Angel", "Papa!" and "The Goodbye" offer this utterly divine theme in the most beautiful way imaginable.

Luckily Doyle has one moment where he can unleash the full blown wings of his Frankenstein music, this in "The Escape". This mixed together with the main theme in the second part of the score makes it a second half to remember.

It isn't because the score hasn't got a lot of highlights that the music isn't any good. Patrick Doyle's underscore is so lovely, it is the main theme and action music that shines even more in the end. As usual with Doyle, it is sometimes hard to get into the flow of the score. But once you find the current of the stream, it is heaven you'll discover. One day that spark will hit you, one day A Little Princess will mesmerize you.


1. Rayamana: A Morning Raga (2.02)
2. Children Running (0.53)
3. Cristina Elisa Waltz (3.00) Excellent track
4. The Miss Minchin School for Girls (1.38)
5. Knowing You by Heart (2.32)
6. Breakfast (0.55)
7. Letter to Papa (1.38)
8. Angel Wings (1.06)
9. False Hope (2.04)
10. The Trenches *** (1.00)
11. Crewe and the Soldier (1.22)
12. Alone (1.19)
13. The Attic (1.59)
14. On Another's Sorrow (1.16)
15. The Shawl (0.54)
16. Tyger Tyger (0.31)
17. Compassion (0.36)
18. For the Princess (1.36)
19. Kindle my Heart * (3.00) Excellent track
20. The Locket Hunt (3.00)
21. Midnight Tiptoe (1.11)
22. I Am a Princess (1.14)
23. Just Make Believe (1.33)
24. Touched by an Angel (1.42) Excellent track
25. Emilia Elopes (1.37)
26. The Escape (2.58) Excellent track
27. Papa! (2.31) Excellent track
28. The Goodbye ** (4.20) Excellent track

* Performed by Abigail Doyle
** Performed by Liesel Matthews
*** Extract from Adagio Quintet in C Major Opus 88 by M. Haydn

Total Length: 49.43
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 33 votes - average 4.61/5)

Released by

Varèse Sarabande VSD-5628 (regular release 1995)

Conducted by

David Snell

Orchestrations by

Lawrence Ashmore

Performed by

The New London Children's Choir