The Da Vinci Code

Hans Zimmer

 
" Discover the DA in dazzling "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Dan Brown has basically written the book of the century when he invented truly fictional twists and put them in a clever story that would devastate the very foundations of human kind. Naturally the Vatican had to attack its blasphemous ideas and thereby it created the free of charge hype surrounding the book and inevitable film. When will these guys realize that when throwing gasoline on a flame, this explodes in an interest rise to the subject at hand? And if people take The Da Vinci Code serious (meaning the Vatican) they are even more stupid than I thought.

Man, this is fiction, fun fiction perhaps but it's still fantasy! Created by one man, adored by millions of readers and now witnessed on the big screen by countless more in the world. Naturally when Ron Howard decided to finally make a movie of it, they simply laughed out loud that their production was winning interest by the minute, and free of charge this resulted in a winning opening weekend and a moderate critical response. Furthermore, Ron Howard's movie became a phenomenon of its time and all parties easily laughed out loud at the premiere of the movie.

One of its deciphers was composer Hans Zimmer, who reunited after a long time with director Ron Howard (Backdraft). Now, was it the wise choice to swap common household name James Horner with Hans Zimmer? Well I must say I was looking forward to it evermore since Zimmer's name appeared over the posters. And while he has tackled religious or darker themes before (Hannibal amongst some), he was standing for the ultimate test. His score was even censored for being too tense but whether the fact of the matter this is bullshit or not, Zimmer's score came in the spotlights ever more. And his raw classicism showed he was the right man on the code.

Of course Zimmer remains Zimmer (meaning controversy isn't far away) but this time he went deep, deep to hide the mysteries and deep to indulge them in moody darkness. But this was needed to create a score that defies emotion and to put you in the middle of it. Now witness the biggest review ever written in human history.

First of all, the soundtrack weaves its web of intrigues and secrets further like the book. The opening "Dies Mercurii I Martius" is actually a brief summary of the themes you will discover in the score, stating low classical cellos which I basically feel as the Silas theme or Paul Bethany's character, moving further into a brief piano statement of Sophie Neveu's lead. It unravels further the basic main theme which is full of surprising qualities since it both listens as a mystery theme and an unraveling tune to be exact, using the strings to the utmost effect. And the thick rise of the classical theme creates pure dark somber emotion in the best classical sense. And this all in just 6 minutes.

With "L'esprit des Gabriel" a mood of suspense is brought forward stating the Silas theme with soft chanting choir. Yet what Zimmer can do as the best is paint the classical foundations around the code. In "The Paschal Spiral" he does it around the classical theme thick on the strings, and in "Fructus Gravis" around the liturgical theme which would later benefit from the soprano voice of Hilda Plitmann. Yet here even with a simple minute he captures your interest firmly when he adds a layer of suspense to it with unnerving strings and brass.

The quality around the orchestration and playing is sublime, layering everything around mood and thought, creating a mystery mood ala The Ring and around it deciphering his written themes for the picture. "Ad Arcana" has by then the Sophie Neveu theme in lovely cello variations while "Malleus Maleficarum" adds a dose of variation to the whole score when he performs just several notes of the main theme in addition to tingling guitar and mysterious choir.

What the score also does admirably is hypnotize you inside the search itself. With the bonus track "Salvete Virgines" the choral work easily transcends the mystery to the next level while the final track (written by fellow composer Richard Harvey) "Kyrie for the Magdalene" is a spiritual but captivating piece that puts you deeper then ever before in the mood of the score. I however like to have Zimmer's music end the CD. It makes the circle complete and it makes sure the secrets are unraveled.

With "Daniel's 9th Cipier" the classicism is on board stronger then ever, layering his low key strings and cellos around the Sophie Neveu theme and the soprano singing of Plitmann. The classical supreme mood is at its peak when "Poisoned Chalice" plays its charm on CD, with Hilda Plitmann creating a duel between her soprano voice and the more liturgical choir, creating thereby the liturgical theme in all the midst of its beauty. This is a piece that puts you in the middle of secrecy itself and but a whisper is enough to shatter its delicate beauty. Here you will also discover the trailer music used in the 2nd trailer (performed by low male choir and not by female choir). This is however the pinnacle track of the CD, here everything is present to silence you forever.

In "The Citrine Cross" the adding of Ring tinkling and almost demonic choir reaches a Hannibal effect of spiritual battling, but the effect is nonetheless tantalizing because of the suspense building to the emotional climax (reaching Smilla's Sense of Snow) mood. This track shows another Zimmer melody and this is perfected in its emotional thick orchestration to the bone. In the midst of all this, the long "Rose of Arimathea" lies. Low choir stating Silas theme, church bells signaling Alfred Molina's character and Sophie Neveu's theme underlining the plot twist at hand.

In "Beneath Alrischa" Zimmer goes even further by putting you to the edge of your seat with shrieking violas, creepy noises and using his main theme as a descending suspense builder, for it to rise magically in "Chevaliers de Sangreal". As said I like this track to end the score because it perfectly fulfils the story's plot in the best sense. Zimmer makes his theme gloriously magical by inserting choir and inventive strings to decipher the code. In the film this has the most effect when you simply let yourself glide down with the camera.

Now is The Da Vinci Code the example of a Hans Zimmer score reaching its fullest potential? Probably yes! It has everything you wish a deep emotional score to have but it has like the story the twists. And while these are faint and emotional, they are understood and discovered when you carefully investigate the clues that lay before you. And while this score is the perfect example of Zimmer's classical mind, it also shows how easily he can create a mood and keep you there until it stops. I honestly believe Zimmer's music can go a long way in surprising you because like the many theme and subthemes, Zimmer also draws in the deepest orchestral low key score I heard yet. While The Ring or Hannibal had more than its fair share of examples, The Da Vinci Code keeps you there until the code is deciphered.

Call me a Zimmer fanatic, but I've been waiting a long time for him to enrich us with a masterpiece of emotion and religion. And no better example as the maestro of Germania to enlighten us with his vision of The Da Vinci Code. It has an orchestra to encode the mystery, the themes to hint us on our way and a Zimmer majesty to give what any Brown fan desired, a rich palette of emotion. This review is at an end, signed Leonardo Da Vinci's visionaire, Dan Brown's pupil and Ron Howard's savior Hans Zimmer.

Tracklisting

1. Dies Mercurii I Martius (6.03) Excellent track
2. L'esprit Des Gabriel (2.39)
3. The Paschal Spiral (2.49)
4. Fructus Gravis (2.49) Excellent track
5. Ad Arcana (6.07)
6. Malleus Maleficarum (2.17)
7. Salvete Virgines * (3.14)
8. Daniel's 9th Cipier (9.31)
9. Poisoned Chalice (6.19) Excellent track
10. The Citrine Cross (5.21) Excellent track
11. Rose Of Arimathea (8.11)
12. Beneath Alrischa (4.23)
13. Chevaliers De Sangreal (4.07) Excellent track
14. Kyrie For The Magdalene ** (3.55) Excellent track

* Does not appear in film, music by Hans Zimmer & words by Abhay Manusmare
** Words and music by Richard Harvey

Total Length: 68.10
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(total of 73 votes - average 4.26/5)

Released by

Decca Records B0006479-02 (regular release 2006)

Conducted by

Nick Glennie-Smith

Orchestrations by

Bruce Fowler, Walt Fowler & Rick Giovinazzo