Patrick Doyle has really come into the limelight over the past few years. He's a composer that is finally getting the recognition he deserves. With last year's Thor and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes blowing us away musically, he finds a beautiful world in where he can touch on his background roots. You may say it's predictable that a Scottish composer is doing a film set in Scotland, but it's better than someone filling up air with bagpipes trying to be Scottish. Brave is a pure and beautiful score with plenty of character and heart.
Doyle immediately plants us in this world via traditional Scottish instrumentation. Yes, the bagpipe is used but it is not relied on. The arrangements and motif's bustle with life and energy. Then we delve right into Merida's journey and we as an audience are off on a quest. There is a timeless and mysterious quality to the music as Doyle sprinkles in some magical wonder into the score. There is a curious mischievous tone at some points, but under it there is a folklore feel to it all. As the journey picks up steam the music becomes more adventurous, and really builds some fantastic moments. Doyle keeps the music grounded in Merida's character. A beautiful song is performed in the film titled "Noble Maiden Fair (A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal)" that represents Merida's relationship with her mother. Doyle brings back the melody of the song in the track "We've Both Changed" and it creates an emotionally heavy bookend to the whole affair.
Brave is musically rich and emotionally deep. Patrick Doyle is a brilliant composer who has continually churned out amazing scores over his career. With his music becoming more present in the mainstream spotlight I hope he will continue to stay there. Brave is a beautiful meshing of Scottish flavors and emotional passages infused with adventure. While there has been some gripe with Pixar has of late about story quality, I can assure you they know the importance of music in their films and how to choose their composers.
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