Album: The Da Vinci Code: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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The Da Vinci Code: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Artist: Hans Zimmer
Label: Decca

The soundtrack for one of this season’s most anticipated films, Columbia Pictures and Imagine Entertainment’s The Da Vinci Code, features original music composed by Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer (Rain Man, The Lion King, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator).

Zimmer recorded the soundtrack at Air Studios which Da Vinci Code fans will be delighted to know is situated on “Rosslyn” Hill in London, and also at Abbey Road Studios. Director, Ron Howard commented that the music recorded at the sessions was “powerful, fresh and wonderfully effective… Like every other facet of this movie, the score for The Da Vinci Code demanded a range of textures that recognized and reinforced the layers of ideas and emotion, which unfold as the basic story does.” Zimmer once again captures the essence of suspense and tension that builds throughout the film. “The inspired Hans Zimmer has given us extraordinarily memorable music to appreciate within the framework of a film or completely on its own, where you can let the sounds carry you on your own private journey,” summarized Ron Howard. The two have previously collaborated on Backdraft in 1991.


For his adaptation of Dan Brown’s megaselling book, director Ron Howard didn’t take any risks, he called one of Hollywood’s most popular composers, Hans Zimmer. Zimmer is a skilled craftsman, which is good and bad since he adequately delivers in a variety of styles, but usually misses the extra unexpected zing that makes a score truly memorable. His work for The Da Vinci Code is almost entirely muted. This may well be one of the quietest soundtracks to a blockbuster you’ve ever heard; only bursts of threatening-sounding strings occasionally break the quasi-ambient mood. The strategy is particularly efficient on “L’Esprit des Gabriel,” which swells in a pleasantly ominous way. It’s the kind of track that benefits greatly from blasting through a movie theater’s multiple speakers. As a whole the score is as serious-minded as the movie’s plot is preposterous. The most compelling aspect is Zimmer’s use of a choir, especially on “Malleus Maleficarum,” “Salvete Virgines” (paired with clanging metallic percussion), and “Poisoned Chalice,” in which soprano Hila Plitmann takes eerie center stage. Yet overall it’s often difficult to tell the cues aside, awash as they are in a sea of somber strings. Once upon a time, Hollywood took artistic risks on some of its bigger offerings. Is that time gone for good? —Elisabeth Vincentelli

Barnes & Noble

The popularity of Dan Brown's bestselling novel is bound to make the film version of The Da Vinci Code into an instant box-office hit, but let's make sure to give due credit to the composer, Hans Zimmer. One of Hollywood's favorite blockbuster collaborators of recent years -- especially since the success of Gladiator in 2000—Zimmer's orchestral (and often choral) score weaves back and forth between the convincingly medieval and the dramatically modern. He has a full supply of ominous sonic tricks up his sleeve, which he uses to sustain the musical suspense over the full course of this soundtrack album, but he manages to skirt the usual cinematic clichés: There's some creepy choral chanting, but it's not the typical plagiarism from Carmina Burana. More characteristic are the eerie reverb treatment on the solo soprano in “Poisoned Chalice” and the minimalism of “The Paschal Spiral,” which seems to borrow from the spiritual style of contemporary composer Arvo Pärt. The melodic bells that open “The Citrine Cross” provide another memorable effect, and well-informed listeners should also notice a quotation of the ancient Dies irae chant on that track. In contrast, “Daniel's 9th Chapter” unfolds with an expressively subdued theme, providing a lengthy, lyrical respite at the album's center. The Da Vinci Code isn't one of those action-packed soundtracks that tells a movie's whole story through the music alone; rather, it’s more thoughtful and thought-provoking, and a thoroughly successful essay in the atmosphere of mysticism and mystery. Scott Paulin

Related Works

Film:The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code

Ron Howard

Dan Brown’s international bestseller comes alive in the film The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard with a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman. Join symbologist Robert Langdon (Academy Award® Winner Tom Hanks, 1993 Best Actor, Philadelphia, and 1994 Best Actor, Forrest Gump) and cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) in their heart-racing quest to solve a bizarre murder mystery that will take them from France to England - and behind the veil of a mysterious ancient society, where they discover a secret protected since the time of Christ. With first-rate performances by Sir Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina and Jean Reno, critics are calling The Da Vinci Code “involving” and “intriguing,” “a first rate thriller.”

Book:The Da Vinci Code: A Novel

The Da Vinci Code: A Novel

Dan Brown

While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci—clues visible for all to see—yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.

In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems…[more]

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