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Water For Elephants Soundtrack

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, April 19, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

In addition to five Depression-era songs, The Water for Elephants score is by Grammy®-winning composer James Newton Howard whose film music has been nominated five times for an Academy Award® (Michael Clayton, The Village, My Best Friend s Wedding, The Fugitive, Prince of Tides). Howard has recently collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the record-breaking Batman series; their score for The Dark Knight won the 2008 Grammy® for Best Score Soundtrack Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 19, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: April 19, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • ASIN: B004Q56748
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,359 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Water for Elephants is a romantic drama based on a popular novel by Sara Gruen. It stars Twilight's Robert Pattinson as Jacob Jankowski, a young veterinarian during the great depression who leaves his Ivy League school and takes a job with a travelling circus looking after the animals after his parents are killed. It is there that he meets and falls in love with Marlena Rosenbluth (Reese Witherspoon), the circus's star performer - despite the fact that she is married to August (Christoph Waltz), the circus's head animal trainer and ringmaster, who has a deeply cruel streak. The film was directed by Francis Lawrence, co-stars Hal Holbrook, Paul Schneider and Jim Norton, and has a quite lovely score by James Newton Howard, reuniting with director Lawrence after their collaboration in I Am Legend in 2007.

A gentle, intimate work written for the most part for a full orchestra, Water for Elephants is a bit of a departure from Howard's most recent works, many of which have tended to emphasize action and tension over romantic passions, and as such this score comes across as a breath of fresh air. Howard hasn't been able to get out this particular bag of tricks to this extent in many years, and it's a timely reminder that he is a much more well-rounded and versatile composer than his recent filmography suggests.

There's quite a bit of Alexandre Desplat, quite a bit of Thomas Newman, and a little bit of early James Horner in this score, in terms of tone, structure and orchestration, and although these elements clearly represent a little bit of temp-track bleed-through on the part of director Lawrence, the music does not suffer because of it - on the contrary, the blending of his own style with that of these contemporaries makes the score a very engaging listen.
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They may not write movie scores like they used to, but James Newton Howard comes pretty darn close, with his excellent score to WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. The music here is wistful and yearning, exciting and poignant. With its clarinet solos, it is reminiscent of moments in Bernstein's masterpiece, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. This is a very satisfying and evocative score, but I DO have one quibble: Where's the memorable love theme? Come on! This is a big romantic story and could easily support a love song a la "Lara's Theme," or "Three Coins in the Fountain." I know, I'm hopelessly old fashioned, and this is a great score, song or no song. Just can't help but wish . . .
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I truly enjoyed the book and adored the movie...The music of course
correspondes with that era of the late 20's and early 30's. If you are
as eclectic in your music choices as I am, you will truly enjoy this
beautiful CD...It is very calming and a treat for the ears after a long
day at the office...Do yourself a favor and try this out...You will not
be sorry...Water For Elephants
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Howard does excite us again with this score for Water for Elephants. With a theme that persuades us that we are again a child at the circus perfectly describing the side shows and acts as one personality the opening theme is spot on and carried throught the film. Where needed the full orchestral piece delivers potent music of anger and sympathy towards the main character of this movie - the elephant.
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For the sheer beauty of the instrumental score, I give this score 5 stars. James Newton Howard shows once again why he can compete with the best of Hollywood composers. The gorgeous themes of this score are haunting and ethereal and this is my favorite score of the year (followed closely by JANE EYRE by Marianelli). What I love about it is that he infuses the circus theme into the music in a very subtle way and although the circus theme does come out strongly at one point (the TENT track), for the most part it appears in a minimized way, allowing the beautiful strings and clarinet to hold the attention of the listener. The period pieces, while they may remind one of the film and perhaps they fit into the film perfectly, do not contribute to the stand-alone listening experience of the score, so I skip them. The first one is a short 30-second clip that fades beautifully into the score, so I quite like that one. The other jazzy vocals are not why I listen to this amazing score. In fact, the "I need a little sugar in my bowl" song is just too over-the-top for me. I guess you could call this a "flaw" in the score, but the instrumental pieces are just too stunning to remove a star from my recommendation. Great music here!
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Really love this soundtrack. The musical scores are so enchanting, but also have almost a haunting feel about them. It is fabulous. If you are a collector of soundtracks like I am, this one definitely makes the cut.
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I loved the film when I first saw it on dvd. Now I've ordered the soundtrack and James Newton Howard's score easily stands on it's own, separate from the film. The inclusion of 4 standards from the 1930's(?) seamlessly fit right into this listening experience of the score, I was surprised at this. You should add this to your collection of Newton Howard's music; it's little known and that's a shame because it's actually quite lovely and wondrous.
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