“The Life and Times of Scrooge” is the first attempt of Nightwish mastermind, Tuomas Holopainen, to gain a foothold in the soundtrack business. In this case, the music is not accompanying a movie but a book. Because Holopainen is such a big fan of Disney – he collects everything he can find – it´s doesn´t comes as a surprise that the book has something to do with Disney, albeit only indirectly. The book is dedicated to a certain character, to “The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck”. It was released a long time ago and tells the story of Scrooge McDuck, how he grew up in Scotland and earned his first coins, how he has lived and how he amassed his billions in the Money Bin. A beautiful book illustrated by Don Rosa.
Images appear in the mind of many people when they listen to music. For Holopainen, it´s the other way around, he sees pictures and the music appears in his mind. He worked on his first soundtrack for a long time and also invited some guest musicians like Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes, alto flute, Bodhran), Mikko Iivanainen (guitar & banjo), Teho Majamäki (didgeridoo), Jon Burr (harmonica) and Dermot Crehan as a solo violinist. The vocals are handled by Alan Reid and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) but also two ladies, Johanna Livanainen, and, Johanna Kurkela, add a few vocals to the luckily mainly instrumental songs. And the two men deliver, as can be expected of them, but I´m not so sure about the ladies. Especially the higher voice, I think it belongs to Kurkela, is sometimes very close to my threshold of pain. Of course, a soft and clear voice fits to this kind of music but does it have to be so high?
Apart from this, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” carries you off to a dreamland, in which you not only follow Scrooge McDuck´s adventures but, with some imagination, can also admire the Scottish highlands with its lush green grass, the castles and lakes, the mountains, rising in front of you, and the valleys, which give way to beautiful landscapes. And that´s exactly how a soundtrack should be, it should make you daydream. And Holopainen managed to do that. Those who like the orchestration of Nightwish songs and also Scottish music with flutes should definitely listen to this record. The listener awaits beautiful melodies, just like in a Disney movie. Simply beautiful.