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Saving Private Ryan (Soundtrack) by John Williams

Tracksounds Rating = 7 / 10

Saving Private Ryan (Soundtrack) by John Williams

Composed by John Williams
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Released by Varese Sarabande on July 21, 1998

Track Title Time Rating Spielberg and Williams 
Remember and Remind

by Christopher Coleman

Spielberg and Williams continue on their journey of the serious, somber, and sobering film with matching score. With the exception of Jurassic Park, the two have been on a very serious note in the nineties. Saving Private Ryan continues in this mode for this powerful duo and while a masterpiece of realistic portrayal of the fate of many World War II soldiers, the score, apart from the movie, suffers to a large degree. Of course, the argument can (and has many times) been made that the first job of the composer is to fit the music to the film. I certainly can’t disagree, but I am spoiled by the large number of scores that are perfect in the film while providing a wonderful listening experience outside of the theatre.

The score to Saving Private Ryan is above all things sobering, as the movie is. Every track pays homage to the courage of the fallen soldiers of World War II. Unfortunately, the entire CD sounds like one very long track. It has been well documented that all of the action cues were left unscored by design. It works well in the film, but would serve to break up the rest of the somber, reflective tracks when listened to on CD.

As I listen to the score, I can’t help but hear strong echoes of Amistad. In fact, too much Amistad. The simple and subtle horns remind me of the theme used to describe former President Adams’ character. Williams’ work on Amistad was overrated and I was very disappointed with it as I am with Saving Private Ryan as a whole. One cannot deny the appropriateness of the score in the film, but outside of that, there isn’t a great deal of pleasure gained in listening to the score.

The images of the movie are cemented in consciousness of everyone who has viewed it. Williams’ mastery of adding to the emotional content of a given film without even being consciously noticed continues in Saving Private Ryan. The bad thing about this is when one is merely listening to the score the music can fade away into the background.

One interesting note is that on track there is a section of music that is very similar to a portion of Cliff Eidelmann’s score to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. I know. I know. It is hard to believe but it is there. Just go have a listen! Who would ever have dreamed that Saving Private Ryan would have Star Trek VI mentioned in its review?

By far the best track is the initial track, which is identical to the final track, Hymn to the Fallen.  I believe it is destined to be used to honor war veterans for years to come. It encapsulates the feel of the entire film. Unfortunately, it encapsulates the rest of the score as well.

Many are great fans of this side of the Spielberg/Williams collaborative works which include (Schindler’s List and Amistad). If so, then it is a must have. It is a score, though furiously somber, that will earn, at least, an Oscar nomination. I tend to enjoy this duo’s earlier works much much more (Close Encounters, E.T, Hook, etc.) My hope is that Spielberg and Williams will return to the type of film that catapulted them to where they are today, at least to give us a reprieve from such emotionally draining material.

1

Hymn to the Fallen

6:10

****
2

Revisting Normandy

4:05

**
3

Omaha Beach

9:15

**
4 Finding Private Ryan 4:37 **
5

Approaching the Enemy

4:31

**
6

Defense Preparations

5:54

**
7

Wade's Death

4:30

**
8

High School Teacher

11:03

**
9

The Last Battle

7:57

**
10

Hymn to the Fallen (Reprise)

6:10

****
  Total PlayingTime 64:12    

Category

Score

 
Film Continuity 9  
Originality 5  
CD Length 6  
Track Order 6  
Performance 9  
Final Score 7  
         

Other reviews:

"SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is very beautiful score, emotionally subtler than SCHINDLER'S LIST, depending more on harmonies than thematic ideas… most of the score is very quiet, carefully depicting emotions of sorrow, glory and horror with sensitive trumpet and French horn solos. I am sure this score is a masterpiece in its cinematic context (I haven't seen the film yet) - on CD it loses some of its impact, I'm afraid." 
Mikael Carlsson - Moviescore Online


Composer John Williams

Saving Private Ryan (Soundtrack) by John Williams
"Thus, the best way to describe this album is by assigning it two words: somber and subdued. There is no recognizably enjoyable theme. There are no action sequences. There isn't even much suspense. There is, however, after the conclusion of the opening hymn, an abundance of low, rumbling, french horn dominated solos and dull, repetitious sequences of strings."
Christian Clemmensen  - Filmtracks

CD available through

Saving Private Ryan (Soundtrack) by John Williams

All artwork from The Avengers is exclusive property of Dreamworks Records (c) 1998.  Its appearance is for imformational purposes only. Composer photo provided by Christian Clemmenson- Filmtracks.
 

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