Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
A masterpiece in film scoring again - John Williams has composed, what I think is one of his best scores ever
on 17 January 2012
War Horse is the latest soundtrack by veteran composer John Williams, and yet another colaberation with director Stephen Spielberg - surely the best double act in Hollywood history. After impressing me with his score for The Adventures Of Tintin last December, I was eagerly awaiting this latest effort. I can say right from the outset that War Horse does not fail to deliver. I might even go as far as to say that it could be my favourite John Williams score ever.
I won't run through every track (there's 16 in total). But just to mention a few, the main theme is heard in full glory in the opening track "Dartmoor, 1912". As theme, it isn't one of Williams' catchiest but is very sweeping/patriotic without being saccharine. Track 12 "The Death of Topthorn" contains some brilliantly emotive writing for strings and clarinet. There are few action based tracks on the album. In the tracks that did, they are some of the finest I have heard from Williams. In particular, Track 13 "No Man's Land" is simply sensational. It hits its stride just after the 2 minute mark and the next two minutes is just stunning. For me though, the pinnacle of the album are the final two tracks, "Remembering Emilie, and Finale" and "The Homecoming". I can't say anything more other than for fans of orchestral music / film scores, this showcases the best of Williams' writing and ends the album on the best note possible.
From a production side, the mix is absolutely wonderful. The whole orchestra comes through with fantastic clarity, whether it's the brass, woodwind or string section. Simply masterful. In addition, the album runs at an hour exactly. That isn't the lengthiest of releases - but here the phrase quality and not quantity is called for. Every track is brilliant, and I don't think the track selection could have been better. Beware though that the film runs for just over two hours and so there will inevitably be music missing on album that will be heard within the film. Don't let that put you off though.
Overall, for any fans of John Williams, or film music in general, you cannot miss out on this stunning release. Like I said at the outset, I think this might be favourite JW score. And the reason is simple. There aren't extended sequences of bombastic action/choral passages like in Star Wars, nor is there a childlike sensibility as heard in his Harry Potter scores. Instead, this is a masterclass in brilliant sweeping orchestrations and wonderful melodies that are emotive without being cheesy. Even at 80 years of age, John Williams has shown with this release, and with Tintin, why he is still the number 1 film composer alive and probably, of all time. Do not think twice about buying this sensational score.