A beautiful and rousing (if not too melodic) score.
Brendan Mark Gatt | Malta, Europe | 07/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie Gladiator is a truly excellent film, with an involving storyline, beautiful locations, intense drama, full-blooded action and a rousing score from Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard. As soon as the movie starts, one is surprised by the subdued tone that the musical score seems to be taking. Knowing that Hans Zimmer was the composer, I was expecting his usual rousing, booming and very pleasant music, as seen (or rather, heard) in other movies like 'Crimson Tide', 'The Peacemaker', and 'Backdraft'. However, what we get, as a friend of mine remarked, is something like a cross between Vangelis and 'The Rock' (which also includes participation by Zimmer). Which is fine. While not as melodic as, for example, a James Horner score like Braveheart, Hans Zimmer's score, with Lisa Gerrard's participation, perfectly complements the action on screen. When battle music is required, the score returns to a classic, if somewhat more mature, Zimmer feel; totally classical in style and paying homage to Gustav Holst's Masterpiece - The Planets, particularly 'Mars - Bringer of War'. Very appropriate, given that Mars was the Roman god of War! This, added to Zimmer's trademark rousing passages, and Lisa Gerrard's moving, lyrical contributions, makes Gladiator a memorable score. Gerrard's participation, in particular was a very pleasant addition, because it adds an ethereal element which is necessary for such concepts as Elysium (the Afterlife) and Freedom. Throughout the movie, the Hero, Maximus, constantly weaves between the 'here and now' scheming and battles, and a longing to join his family, in the afterlife. The score reflects these concepts with an excellent treatment of both dimensions.Which leaves us listeners with a score that is not exactly easy to listen to. It is not too melodic and pleasing to the ears, but is contains a lot of wonderful, mature music. It is something like an acquired taste: after listening to the CD for a couple of times (or watching the movie itself more than once) one becomes pleasantly hooked. A truly memorable score, for a memorable movie."
The Might of Rome
Julianne | New York, NY | 06/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rushed out to order a copy of the Gladiator soundtrack online as soon as I saw the movie. I only regret that they didn't sell this CD at the movie theatre because I would have bought it immediately after watching the movie. The music in this soundtrack is utterly amazing, inspirational and beautiful. As I was listening to it, I could vividly see the images of the movie, floating around my head. "The Battle" and the "Barbarian Horde" scores are exhilarating and very herculean- as much as I really didn't want to relive the bloody battle scene- I could see General Maximus swooping down on his horse to create mayhem in the battle field. Or the beautiful music in "The Wheat" and others such as "Elysium" where I can see Maximus walking in the field of wheat, reminiscing of his home and his family...which is simply soul-wrenching.Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard work together (composed by and arranged by these two) in this soundtrack to bring a myriad of heart-pumping brass and percussion and ethereal ancient (or old-style) sounding music. The contrasting music of these two work magnificiently in the score, weaving the two types together fluidly into one another... I was most impressed with the four scores (The Wheat, Sorrow, Reunion and Elysium) written and sung by Gerrard, which sets the mood for the movie from the very beginning to the final scene. These scores deeply reflect the sorrow and loss of life and the earning for something one can't have. Her dreamy and woeful voice captures just that. Heitor Pereira on the solo Spanish guitar in "The Battle" adds to the old-style. Zimmer's orchestral and dramatic scores sincerely tell the heart of the movie, which is vastly memorable. "The Might of Rome", which is very reminiscent of the movie, is also one of my favorites. This 61 minutes of Gladiator soundtrack is heartfelt and majestic, very equal to the epic masterpiece of the movie itself. And very very Oscar worthy."
In the Grand Tradition of Hollywood Scores
Susan Shwartz | Forest Hills, NY United States | 05/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After seeing THE GLADIATOR, I ordered the CD with the Zimmer/Gerrard soundtrack. This definitely is a soundtrack in the grand tradition of Rosza, Tiomkin, Goldsmith, and John Williams -- although its darkness, and a definitely Spanish/North African feel remind me more of Rosza's EL CID and BEN HUR.I identified the quotations from Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War," Wagner's DAS RHEINGOLD (I'd add Siegfried's funeral march), and some of the rest. Perhaps it's simply the way the film's narrative moved, but I'd add Berlioz' HAMLET, and some hints of orchestral requiem masses for solemnity. One of the things I listen for in a score like this is sheer sweep, and Zimmer can handle not just grandeur, but a dark, martial music suitable for Rome's legions in their decline. I liked the counterpoint of Lisa Gerrard's vocals and woodwinds, playing up Maximus' longing for the fields of home, with the horns and drums of Rome never far from the listener's consciousness.The music works as music, as part of a tradition, and as the background for a powerful and unsettling film that I plan to see again."
In the Grand Tradition
Ernie Wyatt | Milledgeville, GA USA | 05/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hans Zimmer and Lisa Garrard so skillfully integrated their music into Ridley Scott's epic Gladiator that it might be underappreciated if not played separately. Two moods are masterfully created by this soundtrack: Zimmer's powerful martial orchestration, so stirring it will send you in search of your samurai sword in the attic trunk; and Lisa Garrard's emotional themes that sweep you with an unforgettable after-battle melancholy and sense of loss. This is certainly a soundtrack in the tradition of Miklos Rozsa (Ben-Hur, El Cid), Nino Rota (War and Peace), and Dimitri Tiomkin (The Fall of the Roman Empire). But it perhaps owes more to James Horner's recent Titanic. In his battle music, Zimmer employs a sustained bombast, at times punctuated with piercing bell strikes that remind us of Horner's rivet-popping, and Garrard employs the human voice as a musical instrument in much the way Horner so masterfully loaded his Titanic soundtrack with emotion. Fans of Zimmer may recall that he has something of a reputation for orchestral bombast. In The Whole Wide World, for example, writer Robert E. Howard is at his typewriter pounding out a Conan the Barbarian story, when Zimmer steps in with his stirring soundtrack to deliver the audience to the world of sword and sorcery. And who could forget Zimmer's burst of music as the nuclear submarine takes to sea in Crimson Tide? The Gladiator soundtrack is Zimmer's best, and stands with or without the film."
Pat Harris | Maine | 05/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit, I thought Hans Zimmer and his crew at Media Ventures were a rather strange choice for an epic about ancient Rome. Zimmer's pop-influenced, synthensizer-driven style of scoring just didn't seem like it would fit, at least not in my mind. Well, I have to admit I was blindsided by this one. Zimmer's two huge action cues on this album are riveting, and his brief, punctuating heroic themes are impressively forceful. While I'm not sure, I'd say there are more orchestral elements than usual thrown in with the synths, and the overall sound is nothing less than epic. Lisa Gerrard's sections of the score are much quieter, but her soothing vocal contributions (particularly in "Elysium") are gorgeous and no less moving. Kudos to Zimmer, Gerrard, and company for crafting a score that is appropriate for the film, yet sounds vastly different from the traditional score for a Roman epic."