Yep, so maybe I'm in the Christmas spirit two months early (or is it fourteen years late?), but I finally picked up the Home Alone 2 soundtrack. Actually, I went with Varése Sarabande's 2-CD Deluxe Edition, which I'm surprised they're still carrying, considering the soundtrack was released in 2002, and there were only 3,000 copies made. (They claim, anyway.) But wow, it really is a fantastic set; in addition to the complete music from the film, the several alternative, never-before-heard cues is a treat to the ears, from the new take of Somewhere In My Memory in "Arrival In New York," to the purely instrumental version of the Home Alone 2 main theme, "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas."
And the score itself is just wonderful. Home Alone always struck me as being one of Williams' 'special' works; that the Christmas holiday-infused sound is quite unlike anything he'd ever done before, heartfelt and magically captivating in a way no other soundtrack of his -- past or present -- has managed to do. The score also reminds me at how naturally adept Williams is at both thematics and orchestrations, creating a masterpiece that's all at once festive, rich, whimsical, and above all, thoroughly enjoyable.
Sample of "Arrival In New York" and "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas"
The irritating part of the Home Alone 2 score to me is how much of it is lifted straight from the first score (and sometimes awkwardly). There are some lovely new themes in there ("Christmas Star", anyone?) but I get my best Home Alone experience from the first soundtrack (songs and all).
(And John Williams certainly loves that Christmas sound. Note how he takes a page from his Home Alone scores to give the first Harry Potter film some of that magic during the (what else?) Christmas scene.)
I'm going to bust out "All Alone on Christmas" by Darlene Love (plays during the scene where Kevin crosses the G.W. Bridge in the taxi), roarin' saxophone and all, starting the day after Thanksgiving, my official beginning to the Christmas season.
Movie's a classic, along with other holiday favorites like Die Hard.