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The Nativity Story (Original Motion Picture Score)

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Album Review

When veteran film composer Mychael Danna entered 2006, he probably thought his tradition-drenched, Renaissance-inspired score to this film about the opening chapter of "the greatest story ever told" would be heard by more people than the quirkier one he wrote for Little Miss Sunshine. But Sunshine was a Best Picture Oscar nominee and this one proved to be just a reasonably popular Jesus story. Recorded in Los Angeles, The Nativity Story score artfully blends native Middle Eastern instruments like Persian and Turkish ney flutes with more traditional pre-Baroque European ones like the viola de gamba, vielle, harp, and recorders. Danna's dual intent seemed to be to ground the story in its geographical roots while also underscoring the power the story had over the Western world in subsequent centuries. In this cross-cultural world, Gregorian chants and gorgeous, celebratory yet solemn carols like "Veni, Veni Emmanuel" were perfectly at home with the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale re-creating a Second Temple-era chanting in Hebrew of the prophecy of Isaiah and the powerful, portentous Roman horns and drums. The second half of the score features recurring melodic themes whose haunting beauty underscores Mary's isolation and her controversial relationship with Joseph.

Biography

Born: 20 September 1958 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Composer/keyboardist Mychael Danna was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and showed musical talent early in life. Singing and piano lessons defined his childhood and early adolescence, but a hand injury at age 14 ended his piano career. Danna switched over to synthesizer instead and concentrated on his composing skills. After earning a degree in composition from the University of Toronto and winning the prestigious Glenn Gould Composition Award his final year there, Danna began his film scoring career,...
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