Total Time: (43:24)
I'll start this review by telling you that this is Horner's favorite of his own scores, and if you watch the movie, you'll most certainly understand why. This is easily the best technical effort of Horner's entire career. I say 'technical effort' because it's not necessarily the most fun to listen to, but it is the most thought-provoking and emotional.
Like John Williams' score for "Shindler's List," Horner's effort for Glory is composed of pure, absolute, one-hundred and ten percent quality! The music's combination with the images on-screen is truly breath-taking (especially Charging Fort Wagner). I don't know if Horner can ever fit his music with a movie this well again, although some parts of "Braveheart" do come close, and I understand that "Legends of the Fall" is up there, but I haven't seen the movie, so I can't be sure.
If you just buy this soundtrack and listen to it like I did, without having [recently] seen the movie, you may wonder just what all the fuss is about. If you watch the movie, however, you'll see the music in a whole new light. It really makes an incredible difference. In fact, if I had seen the movie before purchasing the soundtrack, I would have bought the score merely out of my respect for it, as opposed to my exitement or enthusiasm for it. I actually only listen to it in the context of the movie now, and the conclusion nearly brings me to tears every time. A touching and gentle masterpiece, unlike the majority of Horner's previous, more boisterous works such as "Star Trek 2" or "Krull." It seems that Horner has used this format far too often since then, alienating most fans of his earlier work. I'm actually an unusual specimen, as I like both his past and present style of scoring. Most people don't appreciate both.
An unfortunate aspect to this soundtrack is that Horner critics can have lots of fun pointing out his borrowings from Prokviev and Orff. Even though I'm a Horner fan, I get really dissapointed by the fact that if he borrows and arranges music, he doesn't give credit to the original composers. Although Charging Fort Wagner is actually more of a parody than a copy of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna." It follows the same pattern of arrangements, but it's really not a direct copy. Just very similar. Also, as I understand it, the choir used isn't really the Boys Choir of Harlem, but is really just an ordinary Hollywood choir. Apparently the Harlem choir couldn't record the whole score, but had to have their credits left in the movie because of contracting problems.
Anyway, I say purchase the movie and the soundtrack NOW! Watch the film and THEN listen to the soundtrack. When it's all over, you'll understand why this is Horner's favorite of his own works, and why he tries to capture the essence of this soundtrack in his scores from the 90s up to the present.