James Horner is one of the best living film composers, and much of this score is both beautiful and exciting, ranking with his best, although toward the end, corresponding with the dramatic climax of the film, the music becomes melodramatic and more conventional. For the most part, except for the melodrama, the music is quietly effective, including some that is quietly portentous. Horner has a distinctive musical voice and most of this music is immediately recognizable as distinctively his, but there is considerable variety in the score as a whole. There is inventive and satisfying use of rhythm, even with one rhythmic voice below another, and the melody ranges from long flowing lines to staccato beats and some minimalism. There is a nice trumpet solo early on, a mysterious flute passage, and a haunting episode before the melodramatic one. Horner knows how to use silence effectively also.
The notes, unusually, credit the individual members of a full symphony orchestra, including four pianists, as well as a synthesizer, a boy soprano and two vocalists. There is an unusual number of middle-voices among the strings: sixteen violas and fifteen cellos, but a conventional number of woodwind and brass players.
Copyright © 2012, R. James Tobin