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4.6 out of 5 stars87
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2004
While I have been very anxiously awaiting the release of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village", I was pleased to have been able to pick up the soundtrack on the day it appeared in stores. I have come to expect great things from James Newton Howard, as he possesses a true gift of being able to infuse so much character, emotion into each film that he composes for. His insturmentation/orchestration here is lush~ripe with a beautiful, haunting faerie tale-like quality that also evokes feelings of pure dread and fear in several instances. There is a genuine charm and quaintness to the music that really captures the spirit, isolation of the village and its inhabitants. I have no doubt in my mind that once I see the film (which will be soon!), this score will enhance the excitement for me on a whole new level....I have not been able to listen to much of anything else since purchasing it!! :-) This is one of the best movie soundtracks I have heard in a long time...if you appreciate a gorgeous, heady listening experience, don't pass this up!!
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2005
People seem either to love or to hate "The Village," but it seems that few can deny the power and beauty of the film's soundtrack. I absolutely love it, and I was disgusted when it didn't win the Oscar. It was certainly the most deserving, I think, both because of how much it suited the movie so well (I'd argue that it "made" the movie) and because it's just a masterpiece. Very moving, lovely, wonderful, and memorable. Hilary Hahn, an up and coming young violinist brings her extensive classical music talent and skills here, and they are used marvelously. This soundrack is a masterpiece!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2004
Even if you were disappointed by the film (I for one was not, but I won't go into that here), it is impossible to say negative things about James Newton Howard's score. The more I hear of Howard's work, the more impressed I am with his versatile and unique style to film scoring. Where most composers seem to exhaust every resource both within the orchestra and beyond, Howard reminds us that film music is meant to complement, not cover up, what is happening on the screen. However, the triumph of his score to "The Village" is that it not only works perfectly in the film, but is a joy to listen to on its own as well.

While there are the expected bursts of the percussive and brassy to reflect the tension of the film, most of the score focuses quiet and sensitive orchestration under a solo violin, played to perfection by Hilary Hahn. The wide range of emotions expressed, from subtle anxiety to the beauty of hope, is incredibly intimate and seamless in it's transitions, and is sure to tug at anyone's heartstrings. It's is a must-have for any film score collection.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2004
Since the Sixth Sense came out several years ago, people have been heartily singing the praises of James Newton Howard, and the work he has done on M. Night Shyamalan's films. After seeing The Sixth Sense for the first time, I was ready to jump on that very bandwagon until I bought the soundtrack CD and was, quite honestly, disinterested and rather bored for the majority of the time. Once the CD had ended, I found myself thinking "But it sounded so good in the movie..." As is the case with many "thriller" scores, the music from The Sixth Sense did not very readily stand alone without it's source. I felt very much the same way when I listened to "Unbreakable".

Then came "Signs", with it's creepy and pulsating opening titles, ringing in what I thought would finally be the breakthrough soundtrack CD from the Newton Howard-Shyamalan partnership. But for about 20 minutes after the opening titles, I again found myself singing the familiar refrain of "Gee, it worked so well in the movie, why not on CD?" Depsite my ho-hum attitude about the previously mentioned soundtrack CDs, I was, admittedly, very excited about the CD for The Village; And finally I was rewarded. What may or may not have made somewhat of a superficial difference was the fact that I bought the CD before I saw the movie (as of this moment, I have still yet to see it.) But what really differentiates between this CD and the trio that came before was, in fact, good music throughout, not just the opening and closing titles. An even greater asset (and to my surprise) was the solo work by young virtuoso violinist Hilary Hahn, whom I have had the pleasure of seeing in concert and meeting personally on many occassions; I had no knowledge of her presence on this project. Ms. Hahn, who is just 22 years old, arpeggiates effortlessly and glides across Mr. Newton Howard's soaring solo sections with a grace and poise that very few violinists twice or three times her age possess. Thematically, the score lacks an outstanding main theme (ie, Signs) but more than makes up for that with it's continuous beauty throughout. But fear not, despite the relatively short running time of the CD, there are quite a few pulse-pounding action cues mixed in to keep the listener on their toes. And what ultimately works best about this CD is the fact that there are no jarring stingers to wake the listener up, but instead we are given a score that glides seamlessly from pastoral, haunting beauty to driving rhythmic sections that will no doubt take on even greater meaning once the listener gets to see the moments in the movie that the music is meant to accompany. This is the soundtrack that we have been waiting for from this collaboration. As their relationship matures, so does the outcome, both musically and cinematically. I can say without hesitation that I am most looking foreward to their next project, and what will no doubt be afforded another great listening experience.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2004
People should stop trying to criticize "The Village" for what it wasn't in terms of a horror or thriller movie, and look at it in terms of what it DID have. Drama, true love, a deep moral core, and one of the most beautiful and atmospheric soundtracks ever made. Shyamalan and Howard's work together is emotional, inspiring genius.

Five stars to the soundtrack, and five stars to the movie!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2004
I am an avid lover of M. Night Shyamalan's films and James Newton Howard's scores to them. When I saw The Village for the first time, I was not disappointed in the least, yet I heard a few who wanted their money back. I believe that to go to a Night film, you must go to it with an open mind. Do that, and you will experience it to the fullest. But go into his films with expectations, you will be disappointed.

I say the same for the scores, and the score to The Village compliments the film's message beautifully, being that the film is not about "Those we don't speak of", but is about the preservation of the innocence in all of us. The sentimental violin solos make my heart heavy, and seemed to do the most complimenting to the character of Ivy (Bryce Howard), the blind girl who braves the woods to save her only love.

All in all, a powerful movie, and a powerful soundtrack. 5 STARS!!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2005
I wanted to know what all the fuss was about the score. Everyone says the music is great and It was nominated for an Oscar. Hmm, I didn't watch the movie, but I bought the soundtrack anyway. I got home and put the CD on my stereo.

Track one, "Noah Visits", played. It ended. Repeat. Ended. Repeat. Whoa! This is not the very best song of the album but its beautiful! I'm a violinist so these songs hit home. The album is a magnificent listen, well, there are three unpleasing songs that freaked the living out of me during my full-volume listen. I like them any way!

"Those we do not speak of" is a haunting, suspensful score. It starts off as scary tribal drum music, then carries over to very haunting percussion, and ends withs with Violinist Hilary Hahn. My mouth was dropped throughout the score. I was unfamiliar with James Newton Howard, but not after this score. The violin is the main "voice" of the score. It was so essential to the score and movie that Hilary Hahn shares the title credits on the album. Kudos to Howard and Hahn for their great work.

If you're curious about the score, buy it to end your curiousity. Keep in mind, if you expect a rousing score with brassy accompaniment then you're looking in the wrong place. The score is wonderful. You liked the movie; buy the soundtrack. You didn't like the movie; buy the soundtrack. You didn't watch the movie; buy the soundtrack. This album is worth every penny!

I look forward to more of JNH's work!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2006
'The Village' was panned pretty harshly in critical circles, but whatever you think of the film, James Newton Howard's score for it is a beautiful piece of work. It lends a haunting, lyrical quality to the film, and it is wonderful to listen to by itself, whether or not you like or have even seen the movie.

While there are a couple pieces in the score that are a little more high-octane in terms of suspense, most of the music is very low-key. Still suspenseful, even spooky at times, but in a very understated and thoughtful way. In some ways similar to Howard's score for 'Signs', which also used repeated rhythms and themes throughout in different ways, the music for 'The Village' differs from the standard "scary movie" score by having pieces which establish a real emotional depth and presence. 'The Village' is a film about love and loss, and much of the music expresses those themes perfectly.

A big part of how the music gets to the depths of emotion is the solo violin performances of Hilary Hahn, present to some extent in almost every piece. From the opening strains of "Noah Visits," the first piece on the CD, her violin speaks the language of the heart and draws the listener into a beautiful world of haunting music, inescapable and compelling. I am amazed by her versatility here. From the fast rhythmic notes of "The Gravel Road" to the high strains of "I Cannot See His Color" to the final, bittersweet tones of "The Vote," Hahn's violin creates a steady thread through the whole score, unifying it and making it unique at the same time. I've listened to several of Hahn's classical performances as well, but I have to say that of what I've heard, her performance for 'The Village' may be her most unique and most compelling yet.

The combination of James Newton Howard's compositions and Hilary Hahn's lush performance have created some beautiful music for 'The Village'. Whether you love the movie or hate it, or even if you're just looking for some rich orchestral music with a beautiful violin performance, this score is well worth owning and listening to many times over.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2005
Imagine a forest where the leaves on the trees are beginning to die. The first leaf to fall parts from its branch, being swept by the autumn winds, making it spiral into the sky before being pulled down to earth. It fades away into the soil, only to reappear in another life as a new leaf on the same tree.

That is what Newton Howard's score feels like to me. A sense of time, a sense of life and a free spirit, all constrained by a greater force, a foreboding power, that by the end is conquered with, well, one of the greatest violin motifs I have ever heard in my life.

The film has these themes threaded through it. Ivy and Lucious's love for one another, the threat that surrounds the community they live in and the free spirit that is Ivy, a blind girl who is the bravest of all the souls in the village.

Howard seems to be one of those underrated artists in Hollywood. His work in Snow Falling on Cedars, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, Peter Pan, and no doubt The Village have not been recognised by the Academy Awards. These are scores that make films greater. Far greater than anything written on a script. Howard's music creates emotions that only the finest music can create, and I am so thankful that Shyamalan has seen this talent, and continues to work with him. Both men are incredibly fortunate to have a partnership that will, in time, be recognised on par with Hitcock and Hermann or indeed Spielberg and Williams.

Part with your hard earned cash, as you deserve to hear the majesty of James Newton Howard.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2005
Very few soundtracks have drawn me in as much as "The Village" Soundtrack did... James-Howard Newton never impressed me before, but he did with this score...

Every piece is a georgeous masterpiece, and as others have said, deserved the Oscar for best score... Although I love the film, the score did undoubtedly bolster it to its loved status by me... :) From the moment I left the theater, I thought about the film, but mostly about the music...

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do, you don't even have to see the movie to enjoy it, and depending on your taste in films, it may be better if you don't. But it wont hinder your love for this score!!!

God Bless ~Amy
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