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Published on Jan 13, 2010
The quality of work that Klaus Badelt has been producing for the past couple of years has been astonishing. Especially when you consider the standards by which he set for himself after his work on The Time Machine. That score was not a highlight of originality but it was an enormously fun ride and few would deny that. Expectations of Badelt after that particular score were pretty high for a while until more and more of his music began being churned out and mostly what audiences were treated to were lack luster synthesizers and rehashing of old Hans Zimmer ideas most notably his work on Pirates of the Caribbean. It would be about three years after Pirates of the Caribbean that Badlet would actually create a piece of work that would grab some positive attention and when it did it came as a large surprise. Not only in the particular film he had been hired to score but in the overall quality of his work and one could make a very strong argument that his music for The Promise wound up being a masterpiece and possibly the best score of 2006. Ever since that film his work has been at a remarkable high rate of quality with films such as Rescue Dawn, TMNT, Pour Elle, and now Le Petit Nicholas.
The overall product is truly a lovely treat since it's laced with plenty of colorful instruments and different types of musical styles. Badelt mixes Jazz, French, and a Latin flavor just to make things even more interesting; guitars, xylophones, whistles, chimes, and children's choir are all employed to a marvelous degree which aid this score in becoming a delightful meal for the ears. Le Petit Nicholas is one of the rare instances that a Media Ventures composer basically abandons all of the tendencies he or she may have acquired while at the Zimmer composer churning factory and does something particularly new at least for a former Zimmer pupil. It's a buoyant, colorful, and extremely quirky little score that's been made here and if it doesn't put a smile on your face then maybe you're one disturbed individual. There are some real moments of beauty to be hold in this score such as the tracks "un jeu drôlement compliqué," which introduces the lovely children's choir and then it merges gracefully into the following track "une balade en forêt" which has a very ethereal aura based around it and further utilizes the choir that was presented in the previous track and they're guitars briefly used which have a western sensibility as well whistles towards the end of the track which have a mischievous flair. The quality of the score isn't exactly the surprise here especially considering how well Badelt's work has been for the past few years, but the sheer amount of versatility that he's shown on this particular score is what may catch people off guard. It mixes in several different genres, instrumentation, and utilizes them in such a quirky manner it's hard not to be infected by sublime personality. This is a triumph of originality for Badelt who's career didn't exactly start off on that side of the bed and as the years have gone by he's progressed rather inconstantly, but he's seems to have been coming around nicely as a solid composer and hopefully he can continue to create this kind of music more often.