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War Horse Soundtrack

59 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, November 21, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

The dramatic countryside of Dartmoor has inspired John Williams to compose a score of such beauty and quiet majesty that one might think the earth was speaking through him, much as the heavens have done for nearly five decades. When I first heard John s sketches of the four central themes for War Horse, I didn t need my memories of the film to underscore the feelings I was having. The music was a stand-alone experience and it affected me deeply, as have so many of John s scores during our nearly 40-year collaboration. I feel that John has made a special gift to me of this music, which was inspired not only by my film but also by many of the picturesque settings of the poet William Wordsworth, whose vivid descriptions of the British landscape inspired much of what you are going to hear.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 21, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Sony Masterworks
  • ASIN: B005LK8NSK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,418 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By AbinadiWitness on November 21, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
This is a soundtrack that reaches out and grabs one's soul at the first listening; in a very good way it is so very different than most of the music produced for film(s) in recent years: this is music that soars even without having the benefit of the film's imagery to support it - this is the craft of a master-composer in his medium.

John Williams has crafted a score that captures the spirit of this area of the world very well; the orchestrations are so very rich and sweepingly beautiful when describing the pastoral scenes of the Dartmoor area in World War I times, including the use of ethnically specific melodic ideas throughout the score. Soon the lush strings transition into the looming threat of war and John Williams provides us with multiple solid action cues that put the listener right in the battle's fray in ever-increasing intensity until the pounding fury of "No Man's Land" shatters the ominous stillness that precedes it, though we never travel too far away from the beauiful string texture that really characterizes this work as we taste the horrors of war and feel the triumph of the spirit through it all.

Most of this soundtrack is purely beautiful, simply-stirring music that soars from the media-source into the soul; but one is definitely exposed to the tension and terror of the war and its effect upon the land and people involved in this tale.

There are moments of lightness, thrilling action, and beauty and tenderness such as I have not heard in a soundtrack in years.

This is a soundtrack for people who love powerful music - this is not an "only buy if you're a fan of John Williams" score, this is sincerely passionate and soulful music which everyone should treat themselves to.

Recommended without reservation!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R S on December 15, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I first became a real John Williams fan in 2005, which is probably the worst time I could have done so because starting that year, he would be taking a 6 year hiatus from film scoring, aside from doing one sequel score for Indiana Jones and Crystal Skull. That's why I've been eagerly anticipating his scores for War Horse and Adventures of Tintin ever since they were announced, and I'm so happy to say that these scores do not disappoint. At the age of 79 and after several years of retirement from his usual level of film scoring, Williams can still weave his trademark magic into his music. Amazing.

"War Horse" isn't the type of action or fantasy-type score that I became a fan of Williams for, but I still found it a thoroughly enjoyable musical experience. Although I haven't seen the film yet and don't know too much about the plot, I can tell the album really tells a heartfelt story with music alone, and at times, I started to recognize and fall in love with musical motifs or sound qualities the same way I would do with characters in a movie (and the track titles also gave me some clues as to what was going on in the real story).

The first track "Dartmoor, 1912" starts off with a mysterious-sounding, winding flute solo that quickly gives way to a lush string melody. By the end of the track, the brass section jumps in, and this sets the tone for most of the first half of the soundtrack. A couple of the score's major themes are also introduced. One of them is usually played in the low strings strings and makes quick, successive jumps up the octave until it reaches the high strings. The next theme is immediately introduced and is played by woodwinds, and Williams frequently reuses it in other tracks by itself or through counterpoint.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By D. Redfeld on November 21, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
War Horse is a gorgeous score and a mesmerizing listen. Intricate and beautifully crafted music with echoes of Vaughan Williams and Walton. Deftly orchestrated as always. So nice to have new music by one of the greatest living American composers. As a fellow composer working in Los Angeles, I can say there are few like him. There are moments in this score which harken back to Far and Away as well as earlier works such as Born on the Fourth of July and The Reivers. The harmonic and melodic surprises never cease to amaze me. Highly recommended to anyone craving a MUSICAL experience rather than the current trend of bland, ambient whole-notes permeating the film world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jon Broxton on January 11, 2012
Format: Audio CD
A variation on the classic Black Beauty tale about of the life of a heroic horse, filtered through the cinematic lens of director John Ford, War Horse is director Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the well-regarded novel by Michael Morpurgo about the adventures of a horse named Joey during World War I. The action moves from rural Devon, where young Joey is raised as a plow horse by Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) to work on his father's farm, to the battlefields of central Europe after he is sold to the British Army upon the outbreak of war and is adopted by a kindly cavalry officer as his personal mount. Moving from adventure to adventure, Joey makes his way through the mire of The Great War, serving on both sides of the conflict - and all the while young Albert, now himself serving in the trenches, never gives up hope of being reunited with his equine friend. The film co-stars Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, and of course has a score by the venerable John Williams, his second score of 2011 after several years away from the podium.

In his liner notes for the album, Steven Spielberg talks about the beauty of the score, and about the "earth speaking through" Williams, emerging as music, and this really is the case. There is a real sense of a connection with nature in Williams' score, in much the same way as there is in the classical work of Ralph Vauhgn-Williams, a solidness and a trustworthiness, allowing Williams to give the horse, his friendship with Albert, and the overarching spectre of war a profound and potent musical voice.
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Music composed and conducted by John Williams

It was recorded and mixed at Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, CA

The orchestra was comprised of more than 100 individuals.
Mar 19, 2012 by JMM |  See all 2 posts
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