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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orchestral majesty with Middle Eastern influences - James Horner has composed a stunning score for Black Gold, 2 Mar 2012
By 
L. Hubbard (Cardiff) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Gold (Audio CD)
James Horner is a composer with his name attached to some of the biggest films of the past two decades, the most recent of note being his great score for Avatar. Despite his successes, some have been frustrated at his use of self-plagiarism with recurring themes and motifs across a range of different scores with his name attached. Black Gold didn't suffer from this problem - it sounded distinctly Horner in style, but there were no obvious references to his other well known work.

In terms of the music itself, it contains a full orchestra with a range of Midde Eastern influences in both orchestration and instrumentation (incuding Arabic style vocals). The majority of the album is fairly slow paced and majestic with wonderful orchestrations of the different themes across the duration of the album. The string and brass sections take centre stage throughout much of the album, however there are quieter tracks with some good Horner piano writing in "I Have Chosen You" (Track 4) and Father and Son (Track 7) to name a couple. In addition, there are some faster paced cues particularly towards the end of the album. Battle in the Oil Fields (Track 13) is the obvious standout.

There are 14 tracks on the album, and this comprises of shorter and longer tracks. "Main Title - A Desert Truce" (Track 1), "One Brother Lives, One Brother Dies" (Track 12) and finale "A Kingdom of Oil" (Track 14) are all over 6 minutes in length. I am a fan of longer tracks because the flow of the album isn't disrupted, and it allows for more in terms of thematic development. The mix of shorter and longer tracks over the course of the album does work well and allows it to flow nicely. The score runs in at just short of 56 minutes which felt like a decent length. Given that portions of the album do have quite weighty orchestrations, on a long album that can sometimes be a somewhat tiring experience. In Black Gold, this doesn't happen because the album length isn't too long. Regarding the sound production, the quality of the recording/mix is exceptionally good.

Overall, the soundtrack to Black Gold has Horner's stylistic tendencies and the fusion of the Western orchestra and Middle Eastern influences. At times the music is majestic and sweeping, in others it is quiet and contemplating (particularly in the piano tracks). The quality is consistently high throughout its duration. For fans of James Horner, I do think you would love this release, and for those who like the score within the film. For fan of more modern sounding scores with electronic elements and a faster pace, this album may not be for you. However, this is a release that shows that Horner is still a fantastic composer for film despite a reduction in the number of scores he writes. This score won't be to everyone's tastes, but I couldn't find anything to dislike in this release. If you happen to find yourself on this page (and I would imagine this will not be as popular with the public as scores such as Titanic and Avatar), I would strongly recommend buying it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great work by maestro Horner, 20 Sep 2012
By 
Lucio (Castalla, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Gold (Audio CD)
This is Horner's third collaboration with French director Jean-Jacques Annaud.
As his first work based on an arabic plot, this score promised to be quite unique and original in composer's very long career and,
after listening to it, all promises have become reality. Highly recommended.
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Black Gold
Black Gold by James Horner (Audio CD - 2012)
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