James Horner – my man! He’s done so many different soundtracks, like Glory, Titanic, and Braveheart. He’s one of my favorite composers. The man has skill, we’ll just leave it at that.
So here we have Troy and I think what some of you (I know I am) might be wondering, does it sound anything like the Gladiator soundtrack? Well, we’ll find out. Tracks definitely merit time mentioning here, seeing as there are only 12 of them and nothing is said on the cover or the inside. Some of them are quite long, truth be told. So I hope you have patience, depending upon what you like. I’ll try not to get too lengthy for you in my descriptions.
1.) 3200 Years Ago – 3:36 We start off with an ancient sounding chorus, drums beating at certain intervals. Then we have the lone singer take over, much like Gladiator had at times, the drums and singer volleying back and forth, occasionally overlapping each other. A subdued and unhurried song, foretelling much of the sadness that will follow from this war in Troy.
2.) Troy – 5:01 Low horns and a few strings to fill things in bring up this track, one that rises to show of Troy’s glory and majesty – its theme for the movie. A song of triumph and beauty and kings and the sons of kings. The clash of symbols and bells alongside the ringing trumpets brings this all together. But soon it fades into gentleness, playing with notions of love and honor via flutes, clarinets, and harps, a darker undertone within them at times. However, it eventually rises back up into the glory of Troy once more before fading altogether.
3.) Achilles Leads the Myrmidons – 8:30 Horns launch this song straight into the air. Ah, Achilles (mmm…Brad Pitt was so hot in this movie…but that’s another story). His trumpeting theme makes me think of James Horner’s composing for the movie Willow when it came to Bavmorda’s forces for those of you that know it. A bad and almost voracious theme flowing right along, drums at its side. Forbidding notes and an detached chorus follow behind it. Suddenly we get a small taste of Achilles true heroic theme and you just know – he’s not the bad guy here. But he picked the wrong side to be on…so now he’s here amidst these unrelenting trumpets that herald the destruction of a good society.
4.) The Temple of Poseidon – 3:28 The singing floats up once again, grazing over the mists that hang between the two forces. Dark brass slowly makes its way up from the mists as the singer disappears before all fades and near silence reigns. But the strings take up their part before a mix of the evil horns and Troy’s proud ones clash, ending in a tie.
5.) The Night Before – 3:28 Eerie night sounds breathe first, and very little happens to overtake them – definitely the quietest track on the CD.
6.) The Greek Army and its Defeat – 9:38 A slow, marching start at dawn; a few instruments sound to show the future battle. Things eventually pick up, reminding me of one of Braveheart’s tracks, like an army walking, jogging, and very soon running towards its opponent until the two clash into the impending all out war. There are those horns again, the recurring themes of both sides fighting once more. Things occasionally become hectic, as war tends to do, with varying percussion and sounds of death, sung by the strings. Battles are singled out here and there, anxious instruments trying to portray the strengths of both sides. Things end in near silence…a lone singer viewing the carnage done by the two forces at the end of the battle.
7.) Briseis and Achilles – 5:19 Gentle flutes take away the ache of battle and bring peace into the tent of Achilles, but cannot erase the memories. They are soon joined with strings, which eventually take over (ooh, this reminds me of Braveheart right here). Ah so sad, and yet so sweet…exactly what the title is named – after two lovers. Ancient love.
8.) The Trojans Attack – 5:01 Very soon after the first few seconds, a full orchestra, headed by the brass and very strong chorus take complete control. Then we have a little of Achilles lone heroic theme, slightly doomed though it may be. Eventually taking over are those dark themed horns, soon fading out into softness and then silence.
9.) Hector’s Death – 3:27 A sad song, detailing exactly what the title says. It’s quiet, with only a few drums, and mostly continued on with the solo singing with only some very soft music in the background. This one reminds me most of Gladiator with the way the singing goes. For all I know, it could even be the same person...
10.) The Wooden Horse and the Sacking of Troy – 10:02 A quiet beginning as the Greeks go sneaking about from their horse. It is almost like a slow motion destruction of Troy. Instruments pluck about for quite a while until finally something happens – the theme of Achilles! Hooray! But it gets cut into by the nasty Greek theme and the whole thing hangs by a thread until we get a little bit of Briseis repose…and that’s how things end.
11.) Through the Fires, Achilles…and Immortality – 13:27 Ironic…the longest track on Van Helsing is the longest track on here…weird. The war isn’t over yet! Well, practically. We all know what happened to Troy and this title pretty much gives things away – sort of. At least the previous one did. It’s a race for everyone in this track. The Greeks must have their ultimate victory, Achilles must find Briseis, and Paris must help his city of Troy any way he can. Horns, strings, flutes, and the rest of the orchestra follows whoever’s theme is most prominent, occasionally swinging back and forth and taking over to fill in the gaps. It’s easy to picture things here – the edge of death, a dash to finish what was started, final farewells, and the end of all things.
12.) Josh Groban with Tania Tzarovska, “Remember Me” – 4:18 Here we have that singer – I guess it’s been Tania all along. How about that. Josh Groban and his very fine voice (which betrays his young looks) sings this song to the theme of the great warrior Achilles. It’s a very good song, sad and yet proud all at once, and in many ways hopeful – some of those ways are though the lyrics. After all, look at the title, though it is a little more lovey-dovey than it should be I think. But I do have one little tick about this song, and you can read about that below.
In some spots, this CD actually sounds like a mix of Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator (it’s the use of the singers/chorus) and James Horner’s past work on the movie Willow. You can really hear the Willow in the use of the horns and a bit of the strings as well. It’s really weird sometimes. *lol* Either way, James Horner does a good job getting into the mood of Troy, sad yet hopeful, strong yet weak all at once. Needless to say, I’m a fan, but I was already biased when I found out it was James Horner doing the work on this soundtrack.
However, though I do understand the point of the final track, seeing as Achilles was all about being remembered forever and forever (and he is, luckily for him), but it just seems really…out of place. I don’t know. No offense at all to Josh Groban because he really does have a fantastic voice, but I just felt like this should be sung at the end of some Disney movie or something. Not to say that the song isn’t good. On the contrary, it’s a very good song – I know! It reminds me of that song at the end of Zorro! That’s it!! It reminds me of “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” by Marc Anthony! Hmm…funny – James Horner did the soundtrack to The Mask of Zorro too. Maybe he’s into occasionally having someone sing a song at the end. Anyway, though I do like the song, I still don’t feel like it fits in on this soundtrack.
All in all, I liked it. I really enjoyed hearing a little of Horner’s old work come through – I almost wonder if he knows it. In some ways I almost think the soundtrack is better than the movie (knowing the whole Troy story – among variations – makes it easy to pick out flaws). If you haven’t heard Gladiator or Willow, then pick this one up and get a taste of the two all at once.
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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.