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Munich (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Reseña de álbum

In his brief liner notes (really more of an appreciation), director Steven Spielberg points out that composer John Williams' score for Munich, Spielberg's film about Israeli attempts to track down and kill the Palestinians responsible for the massacre of Israel's 1972 Olympic team, is his fourth score of 2005, following Star Wars: Episode Three — Revenge of the Sith, Spielberg's own War of the Worlds, and Memoirs of a Geisha. That's not a bad output for a man who also celebrated his 73rd birthday during the year. Pointing to the very different sorts of film the four titles represent, Spielberg calls Williams "a master of disguise," a composer able to serve the different needs of such varying subjects. Every film composer must have something of that versatility, though in fact Williams may have it less than most, as he is the closest thing to a traditional Hollywood composer still active. With Munich, he is put in an area that is very familiar to him, since the film is set in Europe, allowing him to draw upon his familiarity with and affection for European classical music. He employs a large orchestra, and for the most part he has written a conservative score for it to play. The one aspect of the project that is unusual is the film's darkness, beginning with the massacre and then following the increasingly problematic actions of those assigned to exact revenge. This does not allow for the kind of stirring, swashbuckling themes of a Star Wars movie. Rather, it involves minor keys, lots of low tones (no less than eight basses are used), and plenty of slow tempos. To make this tolerable, onscreen and on disc, Williams alternates the passages of dread with more romantic (but still sad) ones. Thus, the throbbing, percussive "Letter Bombs" is followed by "A Prayer for Peace," and other lyrical cues such as "Avner and Daphna" and "Avner's Theme" (the latter a solo for classical guitar) are interspersed with more jarring titles like "The Tarmac at Munich" and "Stalking Carl." But this remains a very dark score to accompany a dark film.

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The conclusion of an epic year...

Munich is the fourth and final soundtrack scored by John Williams this year, preceded by Star Wars III, War of the Worlds and Memoirs of a Geisha. Each soundtrack has its own unique flair as Williams has expanded his musical techniques. In Munich, we find a score that is a blend between War of the Worlds and Schindler's List. There are plenty of references to both of these soundtracks (as well as a high string passage quote from, of all things, a Harry Potter film), so subtle that it just barely triggers that memory, but there nonetheless. Overall, the score is dark and moody, and there are no bombastic parts. It mainly comprises of minimalistic effects on the low keys of the piano, tender string passages, and beautiful woodwind melodies. The score is rather depressing at times, full of pain and angst. Take the most dissonant parts of Schindler's List, and step it up a notch, and this is the result. The first few tracks feature a vocal "theme" performed in the Jewish chanting style, full of what I describe as melodic 'hiccups' and odd intervals. Rather like the vocals on Passion of the Christ. It's very dificult to understand the melodic lines with this vocalist, but when it pops up later in oboe, clarinet and violin, it's much easier to understand. A few of the highlight tracks are: Hatikvah (The Hope) - A very touching, delicate piece for mostly strings A Prayer for Peace - A passionate, climatic piece, a good balance and respite from the darkness of the rest of the soundtrack Bearing the Burden - Full of odd effects, including plucking the lowest strings on a piano, gives it a very eerie feeilng. An absolute gem for anybody interested in avant garde. Anver and Daphna - The love theme of the soundtrack, very nice, moody, rather like "Ray and Rachel" from War of the Worlds Anver's Theme - Theme of said person, but played on solo classical guitar. Exquisite. Thoughts of Home - Once again, another delicate track. All of these would be rather boring lumped together, but when interspersed throughout the soundtrack, the contrast between the pieces provides musical conflict and unrest. End Credits - A reprise of many of the themes. Not just a typical end credits remix, but an actual flowing, progressing piece. A great way to top off a great soundtrack. Overall, I would not reccomend this as much as, say, or Memoirs of a Geisha, simply because it is harder to listen to. It demands your attention, and rightfully so. But if you want a musical journey that's both dark and sensitive at the same time, do not hesitate to purchase this wonderful album.

Munich is John Williams' next masterpiece

After a year so full of John Williams scores as 2005 has been, and after picking up every one of his others to be released this year (those being Star Wars III, War of the Worlds, and Memoirs of a Geisha), I was reluctant to open the pocketbook one more time to pick up Munich. The album opens with Lisbeth Scott's mournful Hebraic vocals over a subtle string backing, thereby introducing the score's primary theme. The track then builds to a suspenseful climax with some Horner-esque piano work. The following track is not amazing, but does introduce one of the more dissonant themes contained herein. "Hatikvah" is, as I understand, Williams' telling of the Israeli national anthem. This is another beautiful piece. Scott's vocals return in "Remembering Munich", where the primary theme is further elaborated on. From here on, every odd-numbered track is suspenseful, and every even-numbered track is heart-wrenching. Most notable is the guitar presentation of the secondary theme in "Avner's Theme," the gorgeous yet heartbreaking cello solos in "Thoughts of Home," and the breathtaking piano performances in "End Credits." As I said, I would heartily recommend purchasing this entire score, but if one were planning on selectively purchasing tracks, then... in my opinion, tracks 10 (Avner's Theme), 16 (Thoughts of Home), and 18 (End Credits) are the very best the album has to offer. But after track 3, all the even numbers (4, 6, 8, etc.) are simply lovely. So... which score is the better of Munich and Memoirs of a Geisha? To be sure, Memoirs was a very admirable achievement from the maestro, though it only includes one memorable theme which isn't the most complex or moving that Williams has written. Also, Memoirs includes so much underscored material, that it makes for a somewhat difficult listen unless one is skipping through the tracks. Munich, on the contrary, has two very memorable themes that could have a tendency to move one to tears. I would even venture to say that, while he has written more exciting scores of the likes of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Hook, Munich is quite likely his best composition since Schindler's List, and the themes here may be better than his classic 1993 score. It amazes me that as outstanding as Williams already is, he seems to be growing better and better every year (besides a slight stumble in the mid-late 90s). If you don't already have this score and you are anything of a fan of John Williams... what are you waiting for?

Simply Beautiful!

What an amazing year this has been for Williams! Munich is classic Williams at its best. Lush String arrangements only John Williams can write. If your a fan this soundtrack is a must.

Biografía

Nacido/a: Flushing, NY, 08 de febrero de 1932

Género: Bandas sonoras

Años de actividad: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The most popular film composer of the modern era, John Williams created music for some of the most successful motion pictures in Hollywood history — Star Wars, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, and Jurassic Park are just three of the credits in his extensive oeuvre. Born February 8, 1932, in Long Island, NY, he was himself the son of a movie studio musician, and he followed in his father's footsteps by studying music at UCLA and Juilliard; initially, he pursued a career as a jazz pianist, later working...
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