Though Hollywood has long had a love affair with historical epics, it has sorely shortchanged America's own most compelling chapter, the War of Independence. And if this tale of a retiring Colonial hero whose family gets d... more »rawn into the war against the British has no shortage of production ironies--being helmed by a German director and starring Australian-raised Mel Gibson--its score is a solid, stirring effort by American John Williams. Largely eschewing typical bombastic epic fodder for a mostly understated score rich in his distinctive writing for brass and strings, Williams's music seeks out the story's emotional underpinnings as much as its battle-scarred action sequences. The haunting main theme here begins as a Celtic-flavored reel for guitar and violin, then wells into strings, martial drumbeats, and full-bodied brass. Much as he did for the Oscar-nominated Saving Private Ryan, Williams paints a mature, alternately abstract and pastoral portrait of armed conflict, often as not reinventing the genre's heroic traditions as he goes. --Jerry McCulley« less
Though Hollywood has long had a love affair with historical epics, it has sorely shortchanged America's own most compelling chapter, the War of Independence. And if this tale of a retiring Colonial hero whose family gets drawn into the war against the British has no shortage of production ironies--being helmed by a German director and starring Australian-raised Mel Gibson--its score is a solid, stirring effort by American John Williams. Largely eschewing typical bombastic epic fodder for a mostly understated score rich in his distinctive writing for brass and strings, Williams's music seeks out the story's emotional underpinnings as much as its battle-scarred action sequences. The haunting main theme here begins as a Celtic-flavored reel for guitar and violin, then wells into strings, martial drumbeats, and full-bodied brass. Much as he did for the Oscar-nominated Saving Private Ryan, Williams paints a mature, alternately abstract and pastoral portrait of armed conflict, often as not reinventing the genre's heroic traditions as he goes. --Jerry McCulley
"Wow! After getting started into soundtracks by liking John Williams' works, I've really grown fond of James Horner's scores, and have scads of those. I still have liked Williams, but have not payed as much much attention to his scores of late. Angela's Ashes, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List; all nice, pleasant (if not sad) scores, but not the kind that really grabbed me (Star Wars, Jurassic Park Main Themes). But now along comes The Patriot, and all I have to say is THAT Williams is back here! I was looking forward to the movie, and was quite glad when I found Williams was going to do the soundtrack. I knew it would be something good, but I guess I like it even more than I thought I would. It's very powerful, moving, and patriotic, and takes the listener on quite a ride.The music is not done with a lot of drums and fife, as one might expect for a movie about early Americana, but instead paints a very grandoise, and majestic picture of the time period, and the country. The middle tracks are the action music, and sound a lot like Jurassic Park or Star Wars action music. But they still have their distinct feel, and are quite driving in nature. This soundtrack really has all of Williams' styles in it. It has the sad, moving music like Schindler's List and Angela's Ashes, patriotic music like Saving Private Ryan; majestic and triumphant cues like Jurassic Park's theme; and the sustained, bold melodies of Star Wars. In my opinion, this could quite possibly be Williams' best work thus far, and definitely is right up at the top. Long live John Williams!"
The Patriot: Music for the American Revolution
James D. Eret | 07/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Willaims has written so many film scores that it is hard to keep up with his output, but he almost never fails to produce good to great scores for the films. He scores big with his film score for "The Patriot," a giant, sprawling epic that also has a lighter touch of a family caught up in the Revolutionary War in 1776. Willaims manages to avoid most cliched songs of the period, with just a few strains of "Yankee Doodle" and some drum and fife music but this is rare in a score of great emotional feeling, for the families that had to go to war and how war takes its toll on them. Ironically, Williams performs the miraculous by composing music that raises the spirit but shows little bombast, when it would be easy to go for giant effects. Here, on this CD, he writes beautiful music for pastoral South Carolina, the main setting of the film, and then the war themes come marching in, but always he returns to the human story, the emotional rise and fall that perfectly matches the story's narrative. John Williams rarely repeats himeslf. This score reminds me a little of his beautiful musical score of "The River," where a lone modern farming family fights a different war against greed and the elements. Mel Gibson was in that film also. John Williams makes any movie better with his feeling for the elements of the film and the characters. Few composers have had as many "classic" flim scores as John Willams and with "The Patriot," he has composed a score that stirs the blood to action, underscores the human suffering, and wonderfully colors his music with a sense of place and setting. He should get another Academy Award nomination for "The Patriot," and I havn't heard a better soundtrack CD in 2000. A must for all fans of John William's film music, a must for any music listener that loves sounds that touch the heart and brace us for action."
An American Symphony
Mr. Christian Lauliac | Paris France | 06/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Williams has fashioned an evocative and monumental score for director Roland Emmerich's epic on the American Revolution . It should come as no surprise, bearing in mind how Williams truly shines when he writes in his coplandesque, noble americana style (Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Born on the Fourth of July and JFK). The Patriot soundtrack opens with a splendid, soothing melody for fiddle and woodwinds. This is the family theme: hope, sadness and longing for the wilderness all rolled into a single melody. Its rich, folklike intervals are a treat. The melody quickly swells, taken by the whole orchestra. Epic stuff. Rich, soothing writing for strings. Just what you would expect from the maestro. It then leads to a secondary theme ("The Colonial Cause"): a propulsive grand anthem for the American revolution. Brass, a catchy dance for fifes and drums included within the orchestra. Shades of Saving Private Ryan's "Hymn for the Fallen". But although the former score was elegiac and introspective, this one is a huge symphony. You can visualise the marching soldiers, the thwarded hopes and the bloody battles. Strong countrepoint from the strings throughout. The first cue ends with a third theme: a rich, hymn like statement from the horn section, before a return of the pastoral family theme. And this is just the overture! Action fans rejoice: the action material is aggressive, very rythmic. Serious stuff. "Tavington's Trap" and "Fist Ambush" are prime examples of John Williams' harsh, tense action cues. Williams keeps his large brass section busy. Rich, epic writing. But there is more than just blood and guts: "Ann and Gabriel" further develops the family theme, with an emphasis on solo flute over a subtle harpsichord accompaniement. It climaxes with a lyrical statement by the whole orchestra. Great cue, goose bumps in the air. "To Charleston" is a light, bouncy cue that brings a lighter side to this powerhouse album. Shawn Murphy's engineering is faultless, with a crystal-clear presence of the drums and brass in the action sequences. Great performance by the studio orchestra. The whole 72 minutes album flows very well without a dull moment. I guess epic scores do not come any better than that. This score ranks among Williams's best epic works of the decade, along with Far and Away, Star Wars Episode I and Jurassic Park. He adds another distinguished effort to his discography."
Music that makes you proud of your country...
Joseph Payne | 10/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Being John Williams only movie soundtrack of 2000, "The Patriot" has become a masterpiece to collectors. The only flaw in this score is that it isn't very original, and it sounds much like John Williams' previous score for "Saving Private Ryan", and fragments of "Jurassic Park". However, this soundtrack fits its title with perfection. It has to be one of the most patriotic scores ever written. (especially for the fans of "Air Force One") The music, particularly the main theme, is incredibly uplifting, somewhat peaceful and motivating. If it weren't for the fact that "The Patriot" sounds similar to other scores Williams has written, a five star rating would be an immediate choice. Williams shows so much emotion in the music, having such a sense of patriotism and pride. You can constantly picture the stars and stripes boldly waving in the wind during the thick of battle, despite bullet holes and torn fragments. The main theme from "The Patriot" (also being the name of the track) begins quietly and peacefully. Guitars can be heard approaching, while a solo violin proceeds to play the main theme. You would expect a movie like "The Patriot" to have a tense and bombastic introduction, (like Cutthroat Island, but that soundtrack deserves a bombastic introduction!) but John Williams goes the other extreme. I was deeply surprised at that beginning of this soundtrack, but not disappointed, either. If you truly listen and get the feel of the music, it suits the movie incredibly well. The violin continues to play its lonely melody, while more instruments begin to join in. Roughly three minutes into the main theme, drums begin to sound the battle cry, and racing woodwinds play their part. Strings and brass then take control in an inspiring moment that every listener looks forward to. (You know, where you sometimes have to hit the skip button just to get to it) This track is six and a half minutes long, but none of which grows tiring. It's one of those moments where you have to set aside a good amount of time to listen to the whole thing, rather then just hear bits and pieces. The deeper into the main theme you go, the more you can pick up its similarity to "Saving Private Ryan". After all, they are both tense and realistic war stories, and they have to have some kind of connection in one way or another, so it shouldn't be something to complain about. Track one ends much the same way it was introduced. The violin heard earlier in the track plays its ending, while the woodwinds fade off, till they are no longer heard. Since "The Patriot" is the only film Williams has scored in 2000, it has attained a good deal of attention. (Which it definitely deserves) Depending on your standards on soundtrack ratings, you'll either find "The Patriot" a little to similar to other scores, or you'll ignore that fact and say it's a true masterpiece. John Williams did an astounding job for "The Patriot". Believe it or not, Williams was not the original composer for this film. It was David Arnold himself! His composition was turned down, but not due to the fact that is wasn't a good score, but said not to have a good fit in the movie. However, Arnold regularly composes music for Roland Emmerich, so you can expect him to score their next film. "The Patriot" is an awesome score, full of patriotism and heroic anthems. Highly recommended."
The Patriotic John Williams
Dave | Hoffman Estates, IL USA | 06/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For this score, John Williams uses a lyrical, yet heroic melody as the thematic link to guide the story musically. It's a brilliant theme with much emotion, and he uses it to great effect throughout the score. He uses an approach that blends the style of Copland with the lush orchestrations of composers like Mahler or Strauss. Fans of John Williams will recognize certain rhythmic and melodic motives from other Williams scores, as well. The battle music combines a quasi savage sound with a rythmic flair that sounds almost Olympic in nature. The whole work is topped off with a strong orchestral performance and high quality studio sound. I highly recommend this for those who like film music written with exceptional emotion and musicianship standards."