John Powell

How to Train Your Dragon 2 [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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English composer John Powell earned his first Academy Award nomination for best original score in 2010 for his imaginative work on the inaugural installment of the Dean DeBlois-directed animated fantasy franchise, so it should come as little surprise that he would return to helm How to Train Your Dragon 2. Recorded in London with the help of a 120-piece orchestra, a 100-voice choir, and the pipers from the appropriately named Scottish folk ensemble the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Powell's second go-around works off of some of the previously established themes and cues, while simultaneously introducing entirely new melodies to the mythical Viking realm. Traditional folk and peasant music continues to serve as the foundation from which Powell bases his sonic world-building, and once again, Sigur Rós guitarist and vocalist Jónsi, working with the composer, provides the score's lone pop moment with the propulsive and soaring "Where No One Goes" -- actor Gerard Butler lends his voice to the mid-film, largely a cappella ballad "For the Dancing and the Dreaming." Once again, Powell has found the sweet spot between flat-out life-affirming adventure and folksy sentimentality, resulting in another effortless piece of work that bodes well for both awards season and the forthcoming final entry in the proposed trilogy.

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