A Very Silvestri Christmas

Composer Alan Silvestri is no stranger to scoring Christmas films. He has two under his sleeve and both make for a very festive listen-through. Here's to wishing you a merry Silvestri Christmas!

The Polar Express
Seeing Is Believing by Polar Express Soundtrack on Grooveshark
Beautiful choral melodies, powerful brass anthems, and many sleigh-bells bring together this classic Christmas score.
The film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks is the Christmas story that everybody has heard of; but told in a different style. The film boasted of breakthrough, lifelike animation and broke the Guinness World Record for the largest budget used on an animated film. Zemeckis turned to composer, Alan Silvestri, having previously worked with him on the film, Cast Away. What a stellar choice that was!
The score starts off with a hopeful main theme, which includes a children's choir, celestial strings, and sleigh bells. The cue then turns to the train's theme which is has Russian sounding, wordless men's vocals and a mysterious melody heard on the strings. The action material is typical Silvestri style; big, bold brass, frenetic strings, and thundering percussion. That can be heard in the cue, most notibly, Runaway Train. It's a heroic, fast-paced, and bombastic cue.
An upbeat song, heard in the cue, Hot Chocolate, is a jazzy break from the intense cues and offers a light-hearted and festive melody. It's subject is most appropriate and the lyrics are quite simple: "Hot Chocolate." That's about the gist of the song!
On a sidenote, the Christmas carol, Jingle Bells, is heard briefly in the cue, Seeing is Believing. 
The score also has several source cues, the first being heard in the cue, The Spirit of the Season. It's a catchy, festive sounding song with ringing sleigh bells, beautiful vocal harmonies, announcing the start of the Christmas season. The second source cue, Believe, is a simple, but powerful song performed by Josh Groban.
Spirit of the Season by Alan Silvestri on GroovesharkIf you enjoy lively, festive, choral, Christmas music, then this album comes highly recommended.

"Its the spirit of the season
filling hearts with love and care
like a shining star it glistens
everywhere feeling care like a prayer
where ever it is you need to share it
it's the spirit of the season
you can hear it in the air
it's the spirit of the season
you can hear it in the air."

Best Cue(s)
  • Spirit of the Season
  • Runaway Train
  • Seeing Is Believing
  • Suite from the Polar Express
Rating: ****

A Christmas Carol
God Bless Us Everyone (performed by Andrea Bocelli) by Alan Silvestri on Grooveshark
The producer from the box office topping, The Polar Express returned to direct another well-known Christmas story with the same extremely life-like animation, but instead of starring Tom Hanks, he got Jim Carrey. Thankfully, he stuck with the same composer returning Alan Silvestri to his festive roots.
Bah, festive indeed! The music croaks of all humbug and and Victorian themed cues. Ok, correction; some of it.
The score is a classic orchestral work as Silvestri reverts to his wonderful music personality avoiding synth and keeping the music organic in nature.
The main theme is based on a source cue, God Bless Us, Everyone, a song performed by operatic singer extraordinaire; Andrea Bocelli. It's a very jovial and festive theme. Another theme, is heard in the form of the Christmas carol; God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. The theme is used to represent Victorian England in the 1800s heard mostly on the french horn-influenced brass section which appears most notably in the cue, Main Titles. That particular cue also relies on the classic carol, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas. 
Scrooge's "bah humbug" theme is heard in the cues, Scrooge Counts Money and Marley's Ghost Visits Scrooge. The bassoon is heavily relied on creating a perfect "grumpy old man theme".
A Christmas Carol (Main Title) by Alan Silvestri on GroovesharkThe ghost material is handled tastefully with the darker music blended in with the beautiful. For the ghost of Christmas past, a harp is heard playing the carol "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" in the style of classic Victorian music. The ghost of Christmas present is presented in a jovial manner even including a brassy/choral performance of Hark the Herald Angels Sing heard in the cue, Touch My Robe. For the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Silvestri weaves a haunting orchestral/choral theme.
The climax of the album is heard in the fast-paced cue, Carriage Chase. The orchestra plays a frenetic version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, to the bursts of brass and strings. The second part of the climax is found in the cue, Who Was That Lying Dead? which Silvestri re-uses the ghost of Christmas to Come's theme in an all out wordless choral performance. It's good old fashioned Silvestri at his best!
The main theme is utilized in the last two cues then finally taken over by Bocelli's amazing performance.
God bless Alan Silvestri, and God bless us, everyone!

Best Cue(s)
  • Main Title
  • Flight To Fezziwigs
  • Touch My Robe
  • Carriage Chase
  • Who Was That Lying Dead
  • God Bless Us, Everyone
Rating: ****


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