Soundtracks aren't usually my thing. 'Kingdom of Heaven' is an exception to this rule.
Strap it onto your player, put on the sunblock, and close your eyes!
There isn't a bad track on this disc, in my humble opinion. Each one is a beautifully crafted gem. Good music is like a TARDIS, taking the listener to places and times beyond the reach of our everyday lives. I am not musically gifted. I cannot describe these brilliant compositions in technical terms, but I can tell you how they made me feel and where they took me.
Experience the thick, red heat of that Jerusalem sun as you swelter and stink within your heavy armour. Then, just when you've almost been roasted alive, strip off and feel the cool night breeze, as it blows in from the desert, playing upon your fevered skin. Then, lie back in the sand, watch the stars and listen to those angels sing!
This is a stirring soundtrack with just the right mix of both orchestral overtones, ethnic music with a middle-eastern flare and a sense of the underlying religious connotations of Crusades with the almost Gregorian chants/vocals. The whole CD just sweeps on by, through it's ups and downs, matching the emotions of the movie very well, and while no one track really sticks out from the others, the CD as a whole is beautiful. Highly recommended for fans of the movie or fans of this genre of music.
Harry Gregson-Williams proves himself a very good composer through this album, the score to Kingdom of Heaven, which he took over from Hans Zimmer. He's done a brilliant job with some varied music that creates a suitable ambience to the film. The tracks are all different, ranging from Gregorian chants, to ethnic Middle Eastern wailing, to heavy war drumming, to string orchestras. This score definately helps bring a film that is awesome in parts, to life. I found myself listening to this a whole handful of times. It's light music and easy to listen to. I do recommend it if you're into scores. I thought it was a shame that they did not include the song "Vide Cor Meum" by Danielle Niesse which features in Hannibal, a harrowing track full of violins and Latin singing. Nevertheless, it's all still compelling stuff. I hope that Gregson-Williams continues to make scores like this.
though i haven't seen the film, i am a fan of Ridley Scott and his ability to get the best out of his movie composers. and this one does not dissapoint, it's a cross between Black Hawk Down and The Passion of the Christ...but more pacey and more cultural than the latter, the mix of Arabic and orchastra is heavenly yet breathtaking with its frantic pace yet with the pure moments of mirth and sorrow making it a roller coaster of moods and emotions. i definite must for movie score fans.
The film Kingdom of Heaven came under some heavy criticism when it was first released; with the subsequent release of the extended cut, some of that criticism has abated, but there still remains a good deal of somewhat legitimate dislike of certain aspects of the film.
However, even if one wishes to argue that Ridley Scott's historical works since Gladiator pale in quality to the original, one cannot say the same about the soundtrack of Kingdom, which is, at the very least, equal to Zimmer's on Gladiator, and to my ears, better.
More than anything, the soundtrack is evocative and at times, hauntingly beautiful, conveying very well the contrast between the obvious splendour and magnitude of the achievement of the crusaders with the innate wrongness of what they are doing; in both 'Crusaders' and 'The Battle of Kerak', one hears both the martial beating of hoofbeats and heroic charges countered by the mournful and chilling choral work, further juxtaposed against the Islamic elements on the soundtrack. The rest of the soundtrack follows suit, and there's not a dud among the track listing, all of which are highly atmospheric.
By all accounts, this is a different soundtrack from Gladiator; it is, for the most part, a lot less warm and comforting than Zimmer's work, but in my humble opinion, KoH is a sublime match for it. Highly recommended.
I don't know if it was Ridley Scott's intention to emulate the epics of the past with his fine production of "Kingdom of Heaven", it certainly seemed so when I saw the director's cut of the film, complete with intermission and Entr'acte This version might not have gone down well with some modern viewers, but it hit the mark with me. This is old school movie presentation, and all the better for it.
Likewise, the CD of Harry Gregson-Williams excellent score took me back to vinyl albums of the great film composers. Miklos Rozsa, the master of the historical score, stated that his LPs should be arranged specially for home listening. Stating the obvious of course, but this often meant you didn't always get what you'd heard in the film, the albums were fine for the average cinemagoer, but the real "Buff" wanted more, Overtures, Intermission music and Exit music. Thankfully, all this has now come to pass, mainly through CDs, and an appreciation of the art of film composing.
My knowledge of music is limited to listening, so I can't comment on the the actual construction of this score. All I can offer is my opinion that you don't have to be able to read music in order to hear, and feel it. The score compliments the film movingly, the CD of the score stands on its own, even without the film.