Kingdom of Heaven 4 Disc Directors Cut at Amazon.com

 

 

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Kingdom of Heaven
by Harry Gregson Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kingdom of Heaven (Soundtrack) by Harry Gregson Williams

Kingdom of Heaven
Composed by Harry Gregson Williams
Sony Classical Records

Rating: 9/10

Buy Kingdom of Heaven (Soundtrack) by Harry Gregson Williams  from Amazon.com

from Amazon.com

Burning the Past (WMA)
 

Swordplay (WMA)
 

The Battle of Kerak (WMA)
 

 

Soundtrack Review

“Harry Gregson-Williams’ score for KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is not a re-tooling of Hans Zimmer’s “Gladiator”. “Kingdom” is something much more ambiguous and subtle.”

Gregson-Williams’ Hidden “Kingdom”
Review by Steve Townsley


In the early summer of 2005, the truth is that most moviegoers (myself included) were chomping at the bit for galaxies far, far away and cities of sin than to have an overwhelming response to Ridley Scott’s medieval/middle-east epic, “Kingdom of Heaven”. Sure, we’d had our fill of Orlando Bloom swinging swords, and huge scale battle sequences—“Lord of the Rings” saw to that. Sure, having reached a saturation point with news of the day, most of us felt that we didn’t need to go sit through a history lesson about war in Israel. Though when the summer craziness died down, and the realm of DVD got around to presenting the film, perhaps more than a few viewers realized that this one got under their cinematic radar.

Most film-music listeners would have pounced on the cues that director Ridley Scott “cannibalized” from “Hannibal” and “The 13th Warrior”. The usage was curiously appropriate--and some generous might say that the use of Goldsmith’s “Valhalla” music from “13th Warrior” was a fitting tribute to the late composer, with Scott and Goldsmith having been collaborators-at-odds in the past. These cues, however, did not make it on to the “Kingdom of Heaven” CD, their presence already being better represented on other albums.

Harry Gregson-Williams’ score for “Kingdom of Heaven” is not a re-tooling of Hans Zimmer’s “Gladiator”. “Kingdom” is something much more ambiguous and subtle. The track, “A New World” has a mystic pensiveness with choir and strings that are neither hopeful nor condemning. The melodies that Gregson-Williams uses here are, like Orlando Bloom’s knight protagonist, trying to find loyalties and homes. “Ibelin” is a warm and inviting cue with middle eastern orchestrations—there is a happiness in this cue that is difficult to find in the score, as the score is deftly layered with rhythms that are more troubling and foreboding. The theme here is reprised in the closing track “Light of Life”, with vocals by Natacha Atlas.

Track 9, “The King” is likewise, begins with a haunting female vocal, to represent King Baldwin, a dying leper, whose spirit overcomes his wraith-like physical limitations. The voice gives way to the orchestra, which builds in power to symbolize this balance between the physical and spiritual. Rather than celbratory, the cue “Coronation” is mournful, as the score balances death and life and death again. In this cue, Gregson-Williams hints melodically at the cue “Vide Cor Meum”, composed by Patrick Cassidy for the film “Hannibal”, but does not copy it directly.

Furiously, “Wall Breached” opens with a rattling percussion that assaults the listener, but then eases briefly with choral overtaking the assault. “Saladin” is a noble theme composed for a complex and debated figure of history. Appropriate to the film, Gregson-Williams ends the score portion of the album with a prayer hymn, “Path to Heaven”.

Giving credence to the adage that a work of art is never finished, only abandoned, director Ridley Scott recently released a “director’s cut” of “Kingdom of Heaven”, featuring an extended version of the film with a David Lean-like musical prologue and intermission—this full epic presentation most likely being what Scott had in mind all along, but that most modern audiences would not have the patience for such a presentation. Hearing Gregson-Williams’ music presented as intended may be the best way to appreciate the complex talent at work here, though regardless, “Kingdom of Heaven” is indeed a underrated jewel of a score.
 

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Track Listing and Ratings

Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Burning the Past 2:48  
2 Crusaders 1:41  
3 Swordplay 2:01  
4 A New World 4:21  
5 To Jerusalem 1:38  
6 Sibylla 1:49  
7 Ibelin 2:05  
8 Rise a Knight 2:43  
9 The King 5:45  
10 The Battle of Kerak 5:36  
11 Terms 4:29  
12 Better Man 3:29  
13 Coronation 3:03  
14 An Understanding 4:13  
15 Wall Breached 3:43  
16 The Pilgrim Road 4:07  
17 Saladin 4:44  
18 Path to Heaven 1:38  
19 Light of Life (Ibelin Reprise) 2:10  
  Total Runnning Time 62:03  

 

   

 

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