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The Da Vinci Code (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Album Review

It is tempting to think that even Hans Zimmer, a composer who has written music for cinema projects large and small — mostly large — for decades, would be intimidated by the responsibility of composing an original soundtrack score for Ron Howard's film adaptation of Dan Brown's pulp fiction blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. Apparently not. While the music here holds some of Zimmer's trademark dynamic and textural tropes, it is remarkably fresh and expertly nuanced. The high degree of melancholy in the first three sections — "Dies Maercurii I Maritus," "L'Espirit des Gabriel," and "The Paschal Spiral" — creates a remarkably brooding tension and a speculative sense of foreboding. The first of these, "Dies Mercurii I Maritus," with its piano and hovering stings, does give way to a large pastoral theme a little over halfway through, but even it is re-introduced by eerie, sparse strings (Hugh Marsh's solo violin playing throughout is his highest achievement yet in a career full of them) before they begin to pulse with suspense. Even here, Zimmer holds some of his cards in check, because this theme gives way to more complex shades, colors, and emotions that don't so much resolve as lead the listener in further. The cues on "Fructus Gravis" that assert themselves about a minute in and carry it out on a swirl of strings, soprano voices and piano, provide for one of those moments in film scoring where the entire range of emotion and ambivalence is revealed. The longer pieces, the aforementioned "Dies Mercurii," "Ad Arcana," "Daniel's 9th Cipher," and "Rose of Arimathea" carry within them those necessary elements not simply to color the screen narrative, but to underscore its meaning, its emotional transference, its sense of confusion, terror, and the impending revelation of a truth long buried. The use of faux Gregorian chant here is ingenious; it never feels contrived or simply layered in for authenticity. It is a genuine creative force and pushes the music into the nooks and crannies where dimension is what makes texture and pace come together in an instructive and creative whole. While this is to be expected in the larger cues, it's often in the incidental music a score falters, loses its place inside the bigger themes, yet Zimmer's control and vision holds firm and carries the listener on a journey that not only points toward the film it illustrates, but one of deep resonance that borders on the spiritual. No matter what aural side projects are created as a cash-in, this original score will stand on its own and should — if there is any critical or commercial justice — become a classic. One does wonder what happened to the planned collaboration with Armenian duduk master Djivan Gasparyan, who isn't present, but it's a small question in the end. Bravo.

Customer Reviews

Another Tour de Force for Modern Classical in the Movies

I have listened intensely to almost every Hans Zimmer endeavor in soundtrack composition and execution and each time he seems to get better each time.... his latest in "The Da Vinci Code" is no exception. In this soundtrack, Zimmer seems to blend the liturgical seemlessly with the symphonic as demonstrated in Dies Mercurii | Martius which begins the track listings. We get the feeling of a cathedral late at night as if distant monks are singing at vespers and then jumps right into a malevolent, sinister strand of music that leads to the murder in the Louvre which begins the film. The Rose of Arimathea is mesmerizing and finally the last two tracks round out the best tracks of the listings. Chevaliers de Sangreal (The Knights of the Royal Blood) begins lightly and then builds up to a crescendo with full orchestra and choral support which I haven't felt since Carmina Burana or Eric Serra's work in The Messanger. Zimmer ends with the liturgical theme again with a Kyrie for the Magdelene leaving the listener with a kind of pleasing symmetry. The soundtrack is excellent and a great addition to any soundtrack collection.

An excellent work by Zimmer

Once again Hans Zimmer proves his worth with this score. Dark and foreboding the music really gives an ominous feel to the film while still remaining unmistakably Zimmer. It is filled with whistful choral elements that give it an almost unnerving feel, as if you're walking through a dark cathedral in Italy or France. Kudos to Mr. Zimmer for another excellent piece of work.

Well Done!

When I first heard clips of the songs, I really got disappointed because this is The Da Vinci Code we're talking about, and it only deserves the best music. However, after buying it, I wish I could have erased my negative thoughts. This cd is great! Each song is unique in its own way, and all add up to be a great purchase. Chevaliers de Sangreal is BY FAR the highlight of the album. I encourage all fans of the book and of Hans Zimmer to purchase this. You won't regret it.

Biography

Born: September 12, 1957 in Frankfurt, Germany

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most prolific film composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Hans Zimmer was born September 12, 1957 in Frankfurt, Germany; after relocating to London as a teen, he later wrote advertising jingles for Air-Edel Associates, and in 1980 collaborated with the Buggles on their LP The Age of Plastic and its accompanying hit "Video Killed the Radio Star." A stint with Ultravox followed before Zimmer next surfaced with the Italian avant-garde group Krisma; he then formed a partnership...
Full Bio

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