Burning the Past by Harry Gregson-Williams on Grooveshark
Crusaders: Men who lived in 1095-1291 and believed that God had called them to repossess the Holy Land (Jerusalem), from the Muslim invaders.
There are not many stories or movies out there about the crusades, but Kingdom of Heaven was one of those exceptions. Kingdom of Heaven is an epic tale following Balian, a blacksmith who travels to Jerusalem, becomes a knight and defends the city when Saladin, a Muslim, and his armies attack the city. The story takes place in the 12th century between the second and third crusades. Unfortunately, the movie itself is ridden with historical inaccuracies and a message of "universalism".
 Oddly enough, Hans Zimmer was assigned to score this film, but he traded jobs with Gregson-Williams and scored an animated film, Madagascar instead. Thankfully, the job fell in capable hands.

The Battle of Kerak by Harry Gregson-Williams on Grooveshark Despite the story's inaccuracies, Gregson-Williams strived to create a historically accurate score. Since the story is about the Crusades, Gregson-Williams utilized a choir for most of the crusader themes since that was the "music" of that time period. The choir is reminiscent of a cathedral choir and blends well with Gregson-Williams orchestra. On top of that, he has a female soprano vocalist who's operatic style was popular in the 12th century.
For the antagonist's themes, he adds some middle eastern instruments and vocals to the mix. It's very bone-chilling, and contrasts superbly with Balian's various themes, a perfect example of "good guy verses bad guy". (I know, that was pretty original!)
There are a couple of cons to the soundtrack album, however. In the beginning of the cue, The Battle of Kerak; it starts off identical to Gregson-Williams cue, The Battle from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe soundtrack. It may be a bit annoying at first, but the cue is more enjoyable as it goes on. He also doesn't have a main theme that is integrated throughout the score. The album is comprised of  a bunch of different cues that sound similar because of the style and instrumentation, but don't have a theme that "connects" them all. Because of it, the album isn't a very cohesive listening experience, but takes a while to grow on you.
The album ends on a beautiful, but heartbreaking note with the choir performing acapella in the cue, Path To Heaven. 
Path to Heaven by Harry Gregson-Williams on Grooveshark Artist, Natacha Atlas performs the final cue, Light of Life completely in Hebrew.
That being said, I find myself looking forward to see Harry Gregson Williams score more historical films. He's got a talent in that field, and I hope he will get more chances to crusade historical accuracy in scores for that particular genre. 

Rating: *****

1 Comment:

  1. Alicia Willis said...
    I saw Spirit many long years ago. While I recall disliking some of the music (the ones with singing), it was a sweet story. I'd probably enjoy the soundtrack, minus the above-mentioned pieces.

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