Music Review: The Life and Times of Scrooge

I had no idea quite what to think when I discovered that Tuomas Holopainen, the composer and keyboardist for Nightwish, had done an album based on the adventures of the Disney character Scrooge McDuck. Or more correctly, inspired by a series of comic books that became a graphic novel about Scrooge McDuck.

It’s neat.

[For my readers who are wondering, Scrooge McDuck is the richer than rich character who has a bin full of gold coins that he swims in, and who is a bit of a skinflint. The “McDuck” is a clue that he’s one of those Scotsmen who watches every coin that goes out or comes in, and dies richer than Croesus. He earned all that gold.]

The album starts in Scotland, with McDuck describing where he came from, and then “follows” him to the goldfields of Australia, the Yukon, and the American West. It is a bit of a cross between a movie sound track and one of those New Age “landscape” albums (without the ambient sounds.) It uses uillan pipes and other folk instruments appropriate to the setting (I get the feeling that Highland Great Pipes and an orchestra don’t always get along) along with a full orchestra.

The music is fun, and the vocals are not too bad. The last piece is a meditation about time and wanting a little more of it. The entire work forms a life story, full of adventure, hardship, beauty, danger, and wonder. In several interviews, Holopainen said that the graphic novel had a lot of character depth and made him think fairly deeply about some things. That shows in the music.

If you are a Tuomas Holopainen fan, are a Nightwish buff and curious, or enjoy soundtracks and “epic music”, this is for you. The MP3 comes with a booklet download with more information. The album cover was done by Don Rosa, the same artist who did the graphic novel.

A sample (some tracks have vocals, this one does not):

FTC NOTICE: I purchased this recording for my own use and received no remuneration from the composer or record company for this review.

6 thoughts on “Music Review: The Life and Times of Scrooge

  1. Need more coffee before I can say something intelligent or witty. 😉

  2. I, too, found this fascinating. It’s definitely in the same vein as Nightwish’s music, but on a completely whimsical subject. In fact, based on this music, I bought the 2-volume comic book that inspired it, so I could read as I listened. When you visit, remind me, and I’ll lend it to you.

  3. There is no telling what people will fixate on, or do… 🙂 Pretty neat though!

  4. Bagpipes go very well with orchestra, if you are the kind of person who likes bagpipes. But frankly, a lot of people can’t stand the big pipes.

    Uillean pipes have less volume, and unamplified, they would be too soft for a full orchestra when performed live. But the vast majority of people don’t have as many problems with them.

    It’s like the whole fennel/licorice family. Those who love it do, and those who don’t… well, you serve them something they can eat.

    • I get the feeling that uillean pipes also have more tuning options and range than do the Scottish bagpipes, but i could be misremembering. It’s been a long time since that class session.

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