Metsän Tarina (Tale of a Forest)

Panu Aaltio

" Lovely from start to finish "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Panu Aaltio, composer of the strong 2008 score The Home of Dark Butterflies and the fantasy 2011 score Dawn of the Dragonslayer unleashes yet another quality injection, the 2012 documentary effort Tale of a Forest (original title Metsän Tarina). This documentary focuses on the animals that live in this Finnish forest, each with their own distinct way of life and their own personal story. The effort by Aaltio follows the many fine documentary scores by composers such as Bruno Coulais, George Fenton and many others, focusing on the beauty of the nature, the joyful life of the inhabitants and the pace by which they bring their habitat to life. Metsän Tarina thereby becomes a thoroughly lovely listening experience.

We open with "Tale of a Forest", a beautiful soft piece of music that delivers one of the reoccurring themes, a wondrous fanfare that's fully fleshed out in the second track "A New Beginning". This track is particularly pleasing because of the playful clarinet opening that precedes it. Another beauty is "A Midsummer Treasure", not only because of the wonderful second theme (a beautiful waltz) but also because it delivers a most amazing version of the wondrous fanfare (the first theme) as encore. That wonderful waltz returns slightly different in "Spring Wonder", always with a version of the fanfare by its side. It's safe to say it are these 2 reoccurring themes that bring the score of Metsän Tarina to life.

To be expected, there's bundles of life in the forest, followed closely by Aaltio's rhythms and energetic music. The cute and bouncy rhythms bring "The Little Ones" to life, the soft delicate tones represent "Snowfall" while the slow moving piano creates the steady pace of "Ant Kingdom", a completely different picture than say the zanier (Elfman) influence of "Stone of the Snakes". The dramatic urgency in "Home" shows another variation of the fanfare theme, showcasing that with several themes you can do much. The clarinet melody returns in "The Bird and the Squirrel", as the playful music of that track in "Twig Traffic", a cue that speaks for itself. And I absolutely adore the touching piano drops that silence you in "Raindrops", followed closely by the incredibly touching music of the wonderful "Love, Care and Respect".

But the end goes for the cream of the crop, namely for the best performances of the themes. In "The World Tree" and "Forsaken" the fanfare theme gets a couple of noticeable performances, followed by a totally explosive version of the waltz theme in "A Forest Adventure", a track that truly brings the forest to life. Ah pure energy.

The lovely playful and soft music counterbalances the often stunning beauty of the 2 wondrous themes, that is Metsän Tarina in a nutshell. If I could find something lesser to say about it, I would say that it can't be compared with the greats of George Fenton, for that it still lacks perhaps a bit of oomph in several tracks (it ain't Deep Blue that's for sure). But that means we're already comparing it with perhaps the greatest documentary score of the last 20 years, so that means Panu Aaltio definitely came close with his often mesmerizing music. Playful, delicate and often incredibly lyrical, Metsän Tarina is just lovely from start to finish.

Favorite Moment - A Midsummer Treasure (1.00 - 1.20)
Goosebumps when I hear this theme

Track Listing

1. The Tale of a Forest (2.47)
2. A New Beginning (3.46) Excellent track
3. The Little Ones (2.08)
4. A Midsummer Treasure (1.44) Excellent track
5. Snowfall (2.33)
6. The Woodland Spirit (4.35)
7. Spring Wonder (2.56) Excellent track
8. Days Gone By (2.35)
9. Ant Kingdom (2.23)
10. Stone of the Snakes (1.58)
11. Home (2.50)
12. The Bird and the Squirrel (3.14)
13. Twig Traffic (2.30)
14. Raindrops (2.24) Excellent track
15. Love, Care and Respect (6.24) Excellent track
16. The World Tree (2.02)
17. Forsaken (1.58)
18. A Forest Adventure (2.35) Excellent track

Total Length: 51.22
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 4 votes - average 4.63/5)

Released by

MovieScore Media MMS13003 (regular release 2013)