Braveheart



To be perfectly honest, I stole my dad’s CD. I’d listened to it so many times while writing one of my books because it fit so beautifully. After several years it was in the CD holder, collecting dust. He never listens to it, it won’t be missed. It’s doing better with me.

I always did love James Horner. I knew him best from Willow, and when I heard this I knew it was something special. While he sill ranks high on my personal list, I still think he has yet to top himself with this score. At about 77 minutes with 18 tracks, I felt a track-by-track listing was in order.

1.) Main Title – 2:50 Strings, bagpipes, horns, and percussion are going to be very prominent throughout this entire CD, and we start off with some straight away. They are very soft as we peek into Scotland’s lands through the mist. We are merely introduced into this place with gentle waving melodies. Nothing major yet.

2.) A Gift of a Thistle – 1:37 Here is the first introduction to the love theme between Murron and William, as told by a few winds and a gentle bagpipe, soon to be strings, and back into the lone wind again.

3.) Wallace Courts Murron – 4:25 This song is where things pick up a little with all kinds of various percussion and flutes. Soon, however, it goes right back into the love theme. It’s a beautiful tune, but does have undertones of deep love right alongside a sad scheme that continues for the rest of the song.

4.) The Secret Wedding – 6:32 This track, though long, is simplicity in winds and strings. It’s the perfect song for a forbidden wedding. There’s really not much more to explain.

5.) Attack on Murron – 2:59 This is where all the bad things begin to happen. Low beating drums, menacing sounds of all kinds flow along with them, a few things that you don’t typically hear that often otherwise. When listening to this song you can just feel that something isn’t right. Then after a sudden rise…it falls into near silence…and then drifts off.

6.) Revenge – 6:24 A long beginning with drums and woodwinds eventually gives rise to a powerful crescendo that I always have to turn down (soundwise). Then braying horns along with those same winds and a range of drums continue on and on, turning quicker and quicker before suddenly giving way.

7.) Murron’s Burial – 2:12 A harp…their love theme…a clarinet joins…and the strings take over. Slow like tears down a cheek, this one plays, and then falls.

8.) Making Plans/Gathering the Clans – 1:53 Another slow start suddenly turns into – excited bagpipes! Whistling winds! Call the others! “Are ye ready for a war?!” This is one of my top five tracks to enjoy.

9.) "Sons of Scotland" – 6:18 Boom boom. The drums beat like a heart, alternating with brass, strings and woods slipping in where they can. Then a little bit of relaxation before the drums come back with the brass. But after a sudden rise, it rolls back down into quiet tones, eventually coming back up again, the bagpipe hopping in to fulfill the song.

10.) The Battle of Stirling – 5:57 Drums begin us once again, only pounding quicker than before, bagpipes and horns leaping in soon after. They’re ready to fight now…they’re just waiting for their chance. And suddenly it comes upon them with echoing strings that soon weave back and forth faster and faster and then fade of and then – stop! A pause. We are brought back by a soft horn slowly declaring victory that soon turns into a full-fledged piece of triumph – bagpipes and all.

11.) For the Love of a Princess – 4:07 Here we have the love theme again, in it’s same tune and scope, floating down and around like a fallen leaf. It turns into something else then, a renewal of some kind. A different love theme now, though still with the same sadness, and yet not a hopeless kind, but instead, hopeful.

12.) Falkirk – 4:04 Quiet sounds….are they there…? Yes! Yes they are, and they’ll scare you if you’re not prepared. With a few of the same instruments as in Revenge, this track seems to be building up to be something big. But instead, it doesn’t somehow…what went wrong?

13.) Betrayal & Desolation – 7:47 This. Everything playing here is simply dripping with the tones of betrayal, along with the question of “Why?” Occasional beating drums and the crying strings. Slowly it rises as best it can to only come crashing back down with even more shock and despair. But now is not the time. After a quick escape, we are left wondering still, trying to figure out the “Why?” with the help of a powerful piece of the love theme. A distant bagpipe and a small chorus leads us off into the end.
14.) Mornay's Dream – 1:16 BOOM Mornay is first. Quick and powerful, a fast piece of revenge here.
15.) The Legend Spreads – 1:08 I like this track too just because it’s fast-paced and upbeat. High pitched bagpipes sing the tales of Wallace’s deeds along, backed up by the strings and pounding drums.
16.) The Princess Pleads for Wallace's Life – 3:37 I absolutely love, love, love this track. I think it is exceedingly beautiful. However, it is pretty quiet, so turn it up first. This is the perfect embodiment of the French Princess. Harps, a single flute with its brethren in the background, and tiny cymbals. Then we have the chorus which sings right alongside the flute in perfect harmony. Exquisite.
17.) "Freedom"/The Execution/Bannockburn – 7:22 This is, without a doubt, my most favorite track on the entire CD. Go download it off of Napster if you have to – I don’t care. First we have the buildup of the entire orchestra in a beautiful way, soon leading into the love theme that finally ends with well, it just moves on to another place. A high flute – maybe even piccolo or another wind – starts off the next segment. Scotland is ready again and this time it’s going to have its own theme as they remember their leader. It’s like the triumphant piece in The Battle of Stirling, but very soon grows into something much bigger. Much much bigger. Crank this one up folks because it just sounds so awesome…..gotta love the orchestra + bagpipes. What more can I say? Don’t forget a dash of cymbals crashing!
18.) End Credits – 7:16 Want a quick review of what’s just happened? Well here you are, the end credits, a melting pot of Scotland triumphant, love themes, and eventually ends with a bit of the chorus, a few quick drums, and that one….lone….bagpipe.
On my list of awesome soundtracks, this one ranks pretty dang high. And I have a lot of soundtracks. I think it’s mingled in there somewhere with Conan the Barbarian and Gladiator. But what can I say? I love James Horner. Whoever requested him wins an award for getting him on board. If you like Scottish music, soundtracks, orchestrated music, or just straight-up moving stuff, then you need to at least sample a few of these. It’s not like you’re going to be mad that you did later on, trust me.
NT

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I am an author, I sell books for a living, and I love music like there's no tomorrow. I've experienced much of this country, from forested hills of the East, to the golden plains of the Midwest, the sandy beaches of the Southeast, and the oh-so-majestic mountains of the Rockies. And when all else fails, eat chocolate.