A Beautiful Mind by James Horner Available at Amazon.com



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A Beautiful Mind (Soundtrack) by James Horner

Minding His Business
Review by Christopher Coleman


A Beautiful Mind (Soundtrack) by James Horner

A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind (Soundtrack) by James Horner

Category  |   Score

Originality 5
Music Selection 7
Composition 7
CD Length 8
Track Order 8
Performance 8
Final Score 7/10


Real Audio Clips




Composer James Horner
James Horner


Quick Quotes

Horner has without doubt found a sound he is satisfied and comfortable with and he does his thing and he generally does it well. A Beautiful Mind is a fine score, but the fact that you often can guess the next note, or even the next phrase, is somewhat distracting. Sometimes it's even extremely distracting and rather annoying." ***

Andy Lindahl - Score! Reviews A Beautiful Mind



Composed and Conducted by James Horner
Album Produced by Simon Rhodes and James Horner
Executive Album Producers:  Brian Grazer and Ron Howard
Orchestrations by James Horner and Randy Kerber
Conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Performed by Charlotte Church (Vocals)
Released by Decca Records September 25, 2001

Composer James Horner and director Ron Howard team up again to bring the holiday season another theatrical treat.  The Christmas of 2000 featured the highly anticipated, visual spectacle, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but 2001 finds Howard taking on a much more dramatic story.  A Beautiful Mind, based on the true life events of Nobel Prize winner John F. Nash, relies much more on the plot and on the acting performances.  At the same time, composer James Horner gains opportunity to deliver another poignant, evocative score as he frequently did in the early 1990's.  A Beautiful Mind gives those who remain staunch James Horner fans another reason to rejoice during the holiday season and, likewise, gives Horner critics another bullet to use in shooting down the composer's work.  This score will prove a very familiar experience for those who know Horner's works from the early 1990's onward. Along with the many familiar elements of the score, Horner introduces one single element that sets this score a part from predecessors such as: Bicentennial Man, The Man Without a Face, and Searching for Bobby Fischer. That element is the distinctive voice of young Charlotte Church.

Horner's latest collaboration with director Ron Howard is unmistakably full of variations and slight derivatives of themes and motifs utilized in more of Horner's later works than one would probably care to count. Horner has been thoroughly demeaned by a number of film music fans for this consistent reutilization of music, but he remains one of the most popular and sought-after composers of film music today. If comparisons must be drawn then Searching for Bobby Fischer and Bicentennial Man offer the most similarities. For A Beautiful Mind, James Horner utilizes the prodigy/genius musical elements of the 1993 Bobby Fischer film (determined and calculating piano), recalls the humanity motif of Bicentennial Man (highly emotional strings) and, once again, constructs a vivid thread of the innocence as he did in these two earlier films (woodwinds).

Charlotte ChurchThat which sets A Beautiful Mind a part from Horner's earlier efforts is simply Charlotte Church's vocal performance. Throughout the film and soundtrack, Church's voice is primarily used as a instrument á la Sissel from Horner's score to Titanic or Annie Lennox from Apollo 13. This is marginally disappointing, given the teenage-vocalists' remarkable talent, but, then again, her voice could easily become a clear distraction.  Be this as it may, this underutilization is somewhat compensated for in All Love Can Be (15)
, which introduces the end credits within the film.  The brief vocal performance of the A Beautiful Mind's main theme, is another collaborative effort of James Horner and lyrist Will Jennings. Even though Church only uses a minute portion of her talent for the song, it is the highlight of the soundtrack. The tracks' brevity is suggests that the song wasn't produced to fuel soundtrack sales as much as to add an emotional and memorable shot to the film.

Decca Records is very generous with over 71 minutes of music and also includes the growingly-popular enhanced CD content.  Even though it wreaks havoc on some computer systems, multimedia content is sometimes entertaining and informative.  Such is the case with this CD.  Included are two interviews with James Horner (one transcribed and one video), one with director Ron Howard, stills, the film's trailer, and, of course, a link to the movie's official site.  Most likely due to the fact that the interactive material gives a good degree of insight into the production of the score, the liner notes fail to provide much additional information - despite being a 5-page, fold-out, insert.

Like Horner's other 2001 score, Enemy at the Gates, James Horner's score functions well enough within the film, but once again, would not be considered spectacular either.  Despite being branded a "rip off artist" and much worse, he continues to mind his business and produce scores that, more often than not, work well within the context of the film...and have impressed enough A-list directors to keep himself well employed.  His reuse of themes and measure after measure of "previously composed music" turns many completely off; however, those who have embraced his well-worn style, have come accept that this is James Horner - for now and for who-knows-how-long.  Depending on which side of the Horner-line one stands will determine if A Beautiful Mind is worth the investment.

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics 4:55  ***
2 Playing a Game of "Go" 3:34  ***
3 Looking for the Next Great Idea 3:02  ****
4 Creating "Governing Dynamics" 2:33  ***
5 Cracking the Russian Codes 3:22  ***
6 Nash Descends into Parchers' World 4:39  ***
7 First Drop-off.  First Kiss 5:15  ****
8 The Car Chase 2:24  ***
9 Alicia Discovers Nash's Dark World 8:29  ***
10 Real or Imagined? 5:47  ****
11 Of One Heart, of One Mind 6:21  ****
12 Saying Goodbye to Those You So Love 6:43  ***
13 Teaching Mathematics Again 3:16  ***
14 The Prize of One's Life...
The Prize of One's Mind
3:02  ****
15 All Love Can Be - Charlotte Church 3:17  ****
16 Closing Credits 4:50  ****

Total Running Time


A Beautiful Mind (Soundtrack) by James Horner

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Soundtracks
Bicentennial Man  |  Enemy at the Gates  |  Back to Titanic  |  The Grinch (2000)



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