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Glory chronicles the struggle of black soldiers in the Civil War. It's a tense uplifting melodramatic film as is James Horner's original score. ~ Stephen Thomas ErlewineAll music written by James Horner.James
Director Ed Zwick's stirring, tragic Civil War epic inspires a gorgeous, deeply moving score from James Horner, who mirrors the story's bitter ironies and ultimate outcome through a main theme and recurring motifs that emphasize the elegiac over the conventionally heroic. While martial drums inevitably rustle beneath Horner's autumnal charts, the somber main theme, when stated by the Harlem Boys Choir, is at once beautiful and heartbreaking, telegraphing the fate of the story's regiment of African-American volunteers in the Union Army. The climactic battle scene, itself a marvel of cinematic impressionism, elicits a more urgent, insistent Latin theme reminiscent of Carl Orff, and just as dramatic. --Sam Sutherland
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The "Glory" soundtrack does the same, with the voices of the Harlem Boys Chorus. From the opening bars of the Union Army preparing for the Battle of Antietam to the ending elegy over the Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculpture of the 54th marching to its fate, Horner's music is the backdrop and emotional strength behind every scene. We feel the sense of build-up as the troops prepare for battle...the pain and agony of Denzel Washington as he is whipped (thus earning his Oscar)...the despair of the regiment as it is consigned to menial road-building duties...the drive of its young men as they charge across Battery Wagner in their doomed assault...it is a powerful soundtrack, a perfect background for efforts to unify, to lead, to drive, and to achieve.
If you need a soundtrack to play when you want to feel inspired to do your best...this could be it.
I am well aware of the frequent accusations that Horner's new works sound like his older works, I agree and have personally identified many instances where this has been the case (I understand why it irritates people, but to me, I always have fun identifying which previous works it sounds like--he's done so much fine work that it doesn't bother me when he recycles). Quite a few times I've heard someone say "this part sounds like Glory" or something to that effect; I've never watched the movie, and didn't look into this score until just recently, when I decided to pick up a copy. I am very glad that I did. This is one of Horner's finest soundtracks and became an instant favorite for me.
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It inspires me as I do my history research project.