Jerry Goldsmith: Suite from Mulan


Jerry Goldsmith composed the score for the 1998 Disney film, Mulan, with Matthew Wilder and David Zippel writing the songs. The original soundtrack was released in 1998 and was conducted by Goldsmith. The score was nominated for an Academy Award for ‘Best Original Musical or Comedy Score’, but lost out to Shakespeare in Love. Shortly after the premiere, Goldsmith’s complete score was released for a limited time and this became a sought-after collectors item.


The Music

The Suite from Mulan is part of Goldsmith’s score. The music is based on the songs and score from the film, but composed just for orchestra. The suite represents a number of different crucial parts of the film, with Goldsmith showcasing his talents through the orchestra.

The opening theme comes from the opening titles and the battle scene. The intense music turns into an oboe soli, which is soon taken over by the clarinets. The intense theme returns, this time led by the horns. There is a grandness about this music, which is highlighted near the end of the film, when Mulan meets the Emperor. The music then moves into an orchestral version of ‘Reflection’; a hit song from the film. Again led by a solo oboe, this melody grows into the strings as they take the melody into the big flourishing section. 

The suite then highlights some more of Goldsmith’s rich underscoring. There are hints of the song ‘Honour Us All’, which are presented by the woodwind and percussion. There is a more Oriental twist in this section through Goldsmith’s clever orchestrations. Muted trumpets and oboes entangle in this melody, with a quick transition into a lamenting section. Led by the strings and a solo horn, this reflective section is the most sombre part of the suite. The solo oboe emerges once more in this section to take over the melody from the horn. Before long the two start a duet on this theme. The upper strings take over the theme and play it in their upper range. A rumble from the timpani signals more of the orchestra to join them in playing the theme. Suite from Mulan concludes with an emotional climax on this theme, which is accentuated by the brass. The final flourish sees the orchestra unite for the final time. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

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