The House of the Spirits

Hans Zimmer

" excellent for listening on the background "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

It's been a long road for Hans Zimmer to the top. And to get to that top the man has virtually done everything. Every genre, every sound, every job possible. Still one of his most underestimated sounds is the personal drama. And while that personal sound has received a stronger more orchestral tone over the years, back in the '90 it was all layered around his synthesizers and tools. And in that path to the top such scores as Green Card, Regarding Henry and Radio Flyer past the show. In '93 there came another one which didn't receive a lot of attention even though it starred a hell of a cast. The House of the Spirits was a movie about the clash of father and daughter during the military coup in Chili and how it affected a family. In that regard the sound of Zimmer carries some warmer more South American influences.

A Spanish guitar, a trumpet, Zimmer may not fully present the whole picture perfectly but he sure gets close. The first track is definitely the best one of them all. "The House of the Spirits" is a long track developing and stating the main theme of the score. This theme in fact reminds me every time of the theme from Pearl Harbor. And no matter how hard I try not to hear it, it pops up in my head. It especially becomes a wonderful moment when the trumpet gives it an extra dash of flair and emotion. Here moments ala Backdraft aren't far away and it's truly a wonderful start from the score. "Clara" or the part played by Meryl Streep receives a more somber note, often backed up by more relieving piano work. But the overall presentation of the main theme is still a somber one in this piece.

In the track "Coup" you could honestly expect a more military edge. Once again the dramatic music is somber and at the end even downright threatening. But in between the trumpet and the percussion give it a militaristic feel without making it overtly war like. It's a track that actually grows on you because of the subtle strength that Hans Zimmer puts in. "Pedro and Blanca" or the rebel and the daughter get a Spanish influence as well through the guitar and a reoccurring beat, but all this is still saturated in a somber emotional setting.

In "Clara's Ghost / La Paloma / Closing Titles" a traditional song by Rosita Serrano takes up most of the running time, but still do we encounter the emotional music with the main theme giving us the final finishing touch.

Altogether Hans Zimmer's The House of the Spirits is a mood setter, a dramatic encore and a soundtrack that is excellent for listening on the background. The strong points in this score are subtle and the theme actually is a better and more refined tune than the one we heard in Pearl Harbor. In fact if Pearl Harbor had this theme it would have listened so much better. It's not one of his best scores but it does have the advantage that the listening experience is carrying solid strong development. So strong that the entire score becomes actually the highlight. One of Zimmer's lesser known scores but holding nonetheless a strong dramatic presence.


1. The House of the Spirits (10.06) Excellent track
2. Clara (6.38)
3. Coup (9.33)
4. Pedro and Blanca (9.50)
5. Clara's Ghost / La Paloma * / Closing Titles (7.26)

* performed by Rosita Serrano

Total Length: 43.32
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 10 votes - average 3.75/5)

Released by

Virgin Records 8392192 (regular release 1993)

Conducted by

Fiachra Trench

Orchestrations by

Nick Glennie-Smith & Fiachra Trench