Top positive review
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Lincoln is weighty, patriotic, and unmistakably John Williams. Even at the age of 80, the quality of his music is astounding
on 30 January 2013
John Williams is on the cusp of turning 81, and if ever there was an argument against being ageist, Williams is surely the person to look at. Still going strong, and ever refining his trademark style, his latest effort for Lincoln is all the evidence you need that the maestro is stronger than ever. Whilst nothing like Star Wars or Indianna Jones, Lincoln shows a more somber side to Williams writing that, despite being a fairly slow paced album, sounds musically substantial.
I won't go into all the tracks on the album however I will mention some of the standout ones for me. My favourite theme was in "With Malice Toward None" (Track 3) and reprised in the final track "With Malice Toward None (Piano Solo)". I don't recall many tracks by Williams historically where it is just a piano solo, and this was a great way to end the album. I preferred this to the other main themes introduced in the opening track "The People's House". These are reprised frequently across the album. The main choral section track is found in "Appomattox, April 9, 1865", and is short, but very welcome. My favourite track is "Remembering Willie" (Track 15), with a stunning piano and (what I think is a viola) solo. I have to confess, I wasn't a massive fan of the two jig tracks, "Getting Out The Vote" (Track 3) and "The Race to the House" (Track 10). These two tracks do add a bit of light relief and are more up tempo, but not really my cup of tea. That though, is my only real criticism of the album.
The music is performed brilliantly by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (although only fleetingly used) and is wonderfully mixed.
There are 17 tracks in total, lasting approximately 1 hour, and this was a decent length. For a score of this type, where the style and pace remains fairly similar (aside from the jig tracks). Also, I should note that because the film lasts for 150 minutes, and from what I have read, there is music for virtually the entire film, there will be a lot of music missing. I have yet to see the film, but you would hope the best tracks have been selected for the album.
Overall, this is a brilliant album by Williams. I have to confess, on my first listen through, I thought it was probably 4* material by Williams' standard. However, with repeat listens the album grows on you, with that fifth star seeming increasingly justified. Whilst it doesn't have the same energy as his recent effort for The Adventures Of Tintin or the sentimentality of his other recent score for War Horse, Lincoln has a more heavy and somber tone that shows just what a versatile composer Williams continues to be. In the accompanying CD booklet, Spielberg pays tribute to his collaboration with Williams that has span for 40 years and must go down as the best director/composer partnership in movie history. Nostalgia aside, here's hoping they will have at least one more collaboration for the planned Tintin sequel. Whilst Lincoln is not the best I have heard from Williams, it is nonetheless a fantastic release that any JW fan should buy.