Review: Jack Foley
HANS Zimmer contributed a memorable soundtrack to Sir Ridley
Scott's Gladiator, so it is up to composer, Harry Gregson-Williams
to do the same for Kingdom of Heaven.
Best known for his work on the Shrek
films, Gregson-Williams has also supplied memorable scores for
the diverse likes of Man
On Fire, Team America
and Bridget Jones: The
Edge of Reason and is clearly making his way up the Hollywood
Kingdom of Heaven, though, marks his most ambitious undertaking
to date, one that calls upon him to provide a score capable of
recapturing the powerful drama and epic grandeur of the Crusades
Yet while the score works well within the confines of the film,
it struggles to gain a foothold in CD form, desperately needing
Scott's images to accompany it.
At its best, it provides a heady mix of contrasts, offsetting
the 123 voices of the Bach Choir with the sound of a small group
of Turkish musicians from Istanbul, as well as the acclaimed early
music ensembles, Fretwork and the Choir of the King's Consort.
Hence, during the grander moments, the mixture of styles deftly
reflects the warring cultures, as in Wall Breached or
the genuinely rousing The Battle of Kerak.
Yet the momentum often feels muted, particularly during the early
stages, as the film builds towards its set pieces.
Opening track, Burning The Past, features only a consort
of viols that are designed to evoke the chilly desolation of medieval
France, yet while they provide a fitting backdrop to Scott's moody
landscapes, they offer very little in the way of listening pleasure.
The soundtrack only really begins to blossom as Orlando Bloom's
Balian arrives in Jerusalem, thereby allowing Gregson-Williams
to draw from different musical cultures and use instruments such
as an Arabic violin.
And he even employs the Eastern vocals of Natacha Atlas to round
off proceedings with Light of Life, a song which is clearly
designed as a celebration of life in the wake of the bloodshed.
Such tracks, while beautifully composed, cannot do enough to
escape the overall feeling, however, that this is a score that
is best enjoyed while watching the movie.
1. Burning the Past
4. A New World
5. To Jerusalem
8. Rise a Knight
9. The King
10. The Battle of Kerak
12. Better Man
14. An Understanding
15. Wall Breached
16. The Pilgrim Road
18. Path to Heaven
19. Light of Life (Ibelin Reprise)