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Gladiator by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard

Gladiator

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Gladiator (Soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard

Gladiator
Composed by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard
Decca Records (2000)

Rating: 9/10

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More Music from Gladiator (Soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard

More Music from Gladiator
Composed by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard
Decca Records (2001)

Rating: 8/10

More Music from the Motion Picture Gladiator by Hans Zimmer  from Amazon.com

 

Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard combine their talents in producing a unique score that hints of the familiar spanning several genres and ages of music.  The listening experience ranges from refreshing to exhilarating and is well worth the investment.

Russell Crowe as Maximus (Gladiator)Musicus Maximus
Review by Christopher Coleman

Gladiator by Hans Zimmer

Some would say the era of the great Roman-Empire films are long gone.  Not since Ben Hur, Spartacus, or Quo Vodis, has there been an impacting film about the formidably complex Roman Empire.  Director Ridley Scott, actor Russell Crowe, and composers Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard have combined to bring the glory and passion of the Roman Empire back to the big screen.  

Already with a successful score for the animated feature film, The Road to El Dorado,  where he collaborated with John Powell, Hans Zimmer, this time collaborating with Lisa Gerrard (The Insider), brings his unique talents to this “throw-back” film, Gladiator.

The prospect of being able to write a score for a film filled with epic, bloodbaths, lovable, rough, good-guys and twisted, detestable villains, would make any composer lick their musical chops.  With standards for such film scores being set by the likes of Miklos Rosza and Alex North, among others, measuring up to such a high level of quality while injecting one’s own unique signature is a difficult tight rope for any composer to walk.

Han Zimmer has by most accounts taken a direction that has, to one degree or another, surprised his fans and critics alike.  Most knew that a rehash of The Rock probably wasn’t going to fit the bill nor would a small ensemble orchestra a la  As Good As it Gets for such a large scale, high impact film like this.  The internet-release of a few promotional tracks, in April of 2000, helped to end the speculation.

Ethereal, Clannad-like vocals and music that, at times, walks the line of Gustav Holst’s, highly influential, Mars: Bringer of War or Wagner, make their mark upon this score while Zimmer makes sure some of his more familiar elements are worked in as well.  The militaristic percussions, strings, and brass accents found in such Zimmer favorites such as Crimson Tide and the aforementioned score for The Rock, rage in a battle all of their own with the classic Holst stylings making for an intriguing musical experience- well exemplified in  The Battle, Barbarian Horde (track 3, 15).  

This release is comprised of several suites of music, comprised of two to seven tracks each.  The suites, many times, make transitions at a very low volume level and are difficult to hear if one isn't listening very closely. Still, the individual pieces are assigned respective track numbers.  

Suite one, composed of tracks 1-3 begin the film and CD alike.   The suite begins with the mystical Progeny, continues with co-writer, Lisa Gerrard’s vocalized piece,The Wheat, and concludes with the fierce and heroic piece of The Battle.  Track 3 makes up the majority of the suite lasting some ten minutes and truly demonstrates the range of Zimmer as he lets loose with all of his musical fury.  The track ebbs and flows from heroic, full orchestral explosions to simple echoing trumpet, to whirling strings.  Fans of the Zimmer's familiar bold, sometimes brash music certainly have plenty to love here, while each will likewise find subtle and not so subtle complexities in his music.

Collaborator, Lisa Gerrard is not a complete unknown when it comes to film music.  She composed the Golden Globe Nominated score for The Insider and also worked with composer Graeme Revell on the rejected score for The 13th Warrior.  Lisa Gerrard’s contributions to this score lay along the lines of the more mellow, melancholy, or even magicale as found in The Wheat, Sorrow, Reunion, Elysium.  Her voice is soothing with a Middle-Eastern-chant flavor.  This same taste can be found in To Zucchabar where Hans Zimmer collaborates with Djivan Gasparyan, only this time Lisa Gerrard’s voice is replaced by the exotic Duduk, played by Gasparyan.  Lisa Gerrard's touch compliments the "other worldly" elements that Ridley Scott incoporates into the film.  The intruiging photography, time lapse, and slow motion effects, provide a contemporary shot in the film's arm.  Those scenes which depict the Roman after-life, Elysium, are greatly enhanced by Gerrard's heavenly voice.

Yet another mini-suite is made up of tracks 8 and 9, The Emperor is Dead and The Might of Rome.  The bulk of which comes from Hans Zimmer once again in the ninth track.  This is only followed by another four tracks that flow seamlessly one to another.  Tracks 10 through 17 provide a wide range of emotion, force, and style, concluding with one of the best tracks of the entire release- Am I Not Merciful.

Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard combine their talents in producing a unique score that hints of the familiar spanning several genres and ages of music.  The listening experience ranges from refreshing to exhilarating and is well worth the investment.  If there is a failing with this release, it is that it did not go the double-CD route that both Zimmer and Gerrard had hoped for.  The music is certainly deserving of a more complete release.  With any luck Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard will, at the very least, receive several prominent award nominations for their musical labors.

Rating: 9/10

 

More Music from the Motion Picture Gladiator is a fine production.  It makes for a nice companion to the original soundtrack in every way. 

Are You Not Entertained . . .Yet?
Review by Christopher Coleman

More Music from the Motion Picture: Gladiator

With the commercial success of the top grossing movie of 2000, Gladiator, it was little surprise that a second volume of music from (or inspired by) the film was announced.  Decca Records initially provided a more than adequate original soundtrack - capturing the essence of the film and the scores main highlights.  Some nine months later and after numerous award nominations for the film and score, even a couple of wins, More Music from the Motion Picture: Gladiator, is poised for release.

This second volume, like most second volume soundtracks, contains dialogue (see More Music from Braveheart and Back to Titanic).  Aside from that, Decca's latest Gladiator installment also contains a host of cues which were composed for, but not used in, the film.  Lastly, included are a couple of remixes of Now We are Free.  Together these combine to actually make this second volume a worthwhile and enjoyable release, particularly for the Gladiator-fan.

Departing from the direct-quote-from-the-film style of dialogue found in More Music from Braveheart, the producers of this album layer some of the more poignant and memorable lines from the film over selections of score that were not chose for use in the film.  Music and dialogue are paired here to produce a specific emotional response from the listener.   For the most part, this little experiment seems to work.  The downfall of such a production choice is that the music accompanying the dialogue would be a gem to have on its own.  Many who disliked Decca's Hannibal release due to the dialogue will probably be frustrated with this release as well.  On the other hand, those who are just plain fans of Gladiator will find the dialogue and musical edits entertaining.

There is actually a good deal of Gladiator music never heard before, in any context, on this disc.  This is an interesting approach to a second volume soundtrack as almost all of this music was composed for use in the film, but, in the end, more suitable takes or versions made the final cut.  In the detailed liner notes, Zimmer comments on each track as if writing in a journal.  His words prove very enlightening as one listens.  More Music from the Motion Picture Gladiator, offers alternate takes from Djivan Gasparian on the duduk, Zimmer's "Earth" theme, sung by and played on the yan ching by Lisa Gerrard (13, 17), and even an all synth-demo of the music from the opening battle scene, The Gladiator Waltz (12).  This release not only spotlights Zimmer's fine work but also more of Lisa Gerrard's, Klaus Badelt's, and even Jeff Rona's contributions.  To praise this soundtrack in bit underhanded way, this is the absolute BEST "music inspired by the motion picture" album to date!

The final composite of this release are the remixes.  Remixed score pieces generally rank pretty low on my list,  but the two remixed tracks offered here are, at the very least, interesting.  The first, Now We are Free (Juba's Mix) is a performed in a different time signature than the original performance and at quicker tempo.  Lisa Gerrard performance is decidedly more upbeat and hopeful as accompanying guitars, percussions and additional vocals make this a more "celebratory" version of the memorable song.  By the end of the track, it takes on a much more natural, North African or even Native American feel.  It works and works well, almost as if Lebo M go ahold of the piece and added his trademark sound to it.!  The second remix is once again of Now We are Free.  This time we have a clear dance-mix, subtitled Maximus Mix.  This track is much less enjoyable than the first mix.  This mix appears to be the original Now We are Free performance of Lisa Gerrard with the typically vanilla dance rhythms that plague all too many remixes these days, along with quirky synth-accents laid over the top of it.  

More Music from the Motion Picture Gladiator is a fine production.  It makes for a nice companion to the original soundtrack in every way.  The music included is not redundant, as alternate cues, dialogue, and remixes keep the album fresh.  The liner notes are quite extensive, being penned by Hans Zimmer himself (a good portion seems to come from his interview on the DVD).  This is a wise commercial release as Gladiator fans are reinvigorated by all the attention the film will receive throughout the Award-season.  If the general film music fan can get by the so-called "distractions" on the CD, namely the dialogue, they will find this a most entertaining experience.

Rating: 8/10


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Progeny 2:13  ****
2 The Wheat 1:03  ****
3 The Battle 10:02  *****
4 Earth 3:01  ****
5 Sorrow 1:26  ****
6 To Zucchabar 3:16  ***
7 Patricide 4:08  ****
8 The Emperor is Dead 1:21  ***
9 The Might of Rome 5:18  *****
10 Strength and Honor 2:09  ****
11 Reunion 1:14  ****
12 Slaves to Rome 1:00  ****
13 Barbarian Horde 10:33  ****
14 Am I Not Merciful? 6:33  *****
15 Elysium 2:41  *****
16 Honor Him 1:19  *****
17 Now We are Free 4:14  *****
 

Total Running Time

61:31  
       

 

   

   

Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Duduk of the North 5:35  ****
2 Now We Are Free (Juba's mix)  4:39   *****
3 The Protector of Rome  * 1:28  ****
4 Homecoming * 3:38   ****
5 The General Who Became a Slave  3:05  ****
6 The Slave Who Became a Gladiator * 6:14  ****
7 Secrets 2:01  ****
8 Rome is the Light 2:46  ****
9 All That Remains 0:57  ****
10 Maximus 1:11  *****
11 Marikesh Marketplace 0:44  ****
12 The Gladiator Waltz * 8:27  ***
13 Figurines 1:04  ***
14 The Mob 2:25  ***
15 Busy Little Bee * 3:50  ****
16 Death Smiles at Us All * 2:32  ****
17 Not Yet * 1:33  ***
18 Now We Are Free (Maximus Mix) 3:49  ***
 

Total Running Time

56:22  

 

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