Album: Gladiator: Music from the Motion Picture

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Gladiator: Music from the Motion Picture

Artist: Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard
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Label: Decca U.S.

Most modern Hollywood films have musical “temp tracks” laid in as they’re edited, usually classical standards or music from other soundtracks that helps shape the dramatic and emotional intentions of works in progress. Sometimes these temp tracks become the score (as in “2001”), but more often they serve as a template for the film’s eventual scorer. That said, we’ll boldly climb out on a limb and opine that director Ridley Scott was listening to a whole lot of Holst’s The Planets as he was cobbling together his modern gladiator epic. Credit Hans Zimmer for…

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Most modern Hollywood films have musical “temp tracks” laid in as they’re edited, usually classical standards or music from other soundtracks that helps shape the dramatic and emotional intentions of works in progress. Sometimes these temp tracks become the score (as in “2001”), but more often they serve as a template for the film’s eventual scorer. That said, we’ll boldly climb out on a limb and opine that director Ridley Scott was listening to a whole lot of Holst’s The Planets as he was cobbling together his modern gladiator epic. Credit Hans Zimmer for taking “Mars, the Bringer of War” and hammering its familiar harmonic and rhythmic Sturm und Drang into something serviceably fresh; cohort Lisa Gerrard generally handles the more ethereal, atmospheric passages. As epic in scope as its thematic inspiration (and with enough occasional nods to “authenticity” to make it work), this is nonetheless a work of often surprising nuances, and one that recasts the traditional heroic orchestral score in deliciously dark and ominous tones. Warning: repeated listening may inspire the invasion of neighboring countries. —Jerry McCulley

Related Works

Film:Gladiator (2000)

Gladiator

Ridley Scott

A big-budget summer epic with money to burn and a scale worthy of its golden Hollywood predecessors, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is a rousing, grisly, action-packed epic that takes moviemaking back to the Roman Empire via computer-generated visual effects. While not as fluid as the computer work done for, say, Titanic, it’s an impressive achievement that will leave you marveling at the glory that was Rome, when you’re not marveling at the glory that is Russell Crowe. Starring as the heroic general Maximus, Crowe firmly cements his star status both in…

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