" Distinctive Horner score is a delightful, rich and beautiful experience "
Written by Thomas Glorieux
- Review of
the regular release
I consider myself to be a well informed guy concerning upcoming movies. But somehow I seem to have missed the upcoming attractions concerning Black Gold, Jean-Jacques Annaud's epic movie starring Tahar Rahim, Mark Strong and Antonio Banderas. For the music, James Horner was given the chance to mesmerize audiences once again with an epic dramatic score, in the likes of The Four Feathers and Legends of the Fall. And for 55 minutes, be ready to listen to soft dramatic and melodic western music that has one amazing advantage. A composer's returning style. Horner may have been endlessly attacked for this, but in a time composers like Patrick Doyle and James Newton Howard have abandoned their unique style, it's comforting to realize that some still write their way into our hearts, using the melodic cornerstone we have come to expect from them.
The main theme of Black Gold is familiar, yes overtly familiar and yet, once it grows towards its most beautiful version, be ready to grace yourself with an artists unique voice. It's mesmerizing versions in "Horizon to Horizon" and "Leaving As an Emissary", the wonderful uplifting magic coming from "Fresh Water", its unique off putting variations in the interesting "The Blowing Sands" and those epic versions that lead to brief but stunning Legends of the Fall dramatic war music in "One Brother Lives, One Brother Dies", Horner leaves no moment untouched. "Battle in the Oil Fields" puts that main theme even in an action variation that's not only rhythmically charged and powerfully poignant, it's also so typically him that it makes me yearn for such rich music in other blockbuster scores.
The final track "A Kingdom of Oil" is as expected a salutation of several dramatic epic versions of that beautiful main theme. And that placed alongside ethnic tilted pieces for solo vocal and an occasional mesmerizing solo piano moment here and there ("Father and Son" is beautiful), it makes Black Gold a delight to listen to.
Yes, Black Gold is epic dramatic music, occasionally stout and mesmerizing but always yearning and delightfully calm and beautiful. And yes, the main theme does tend to return more often than one would like, but it's the way Horner uses it so delicately and melodically that one doesn't mind its overuse at all. In fact, it shows us that James Horner is perhaps one of the few great artists left that still writes his music we way we always experienced it. Black Gold is not innovating James Horner music, but it is recognizable quality music. Considering it comes in an age that composers tend to forget where they come from (in favor for today's demands and needs) I can only applaud Jamie Horner's distinct own style and sound, brought forward in an album that thank god knows when to quit.
1. Main Title - A Desert Truce (6.34)
2. Horizon to Horizon (3.59) Excellent track
3. The Wonders of Wealth (1.49)
4. "I Have Chosen You" (3.22)
5. "You Were A Prince" (1.47)
6. Leaving As an Emissary (5.19) Excellent track
7. Father and Son (1.50)
8. Phantom Army (1.48)
9. "So This is War" (1.56)
10. The Blowing Sands (4.27)
11. Fresh Water (1.51)
12. One Brother Lives, One Brother Dies (6.44) Excellent track
13. Battle in the Oil Fields (5.13) Excellent track
14. A Kingdom of Oil (8.43) Excellent track
Total Length: 55.22