Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code

4.1 6
by Hans Zimmer
     
 

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 …  See more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
It is tempting to think that even Hans Zimmer, a composer who has written music for cinema projects large and small -- mostly large -- for decades, would be intimidated by the responsibility of composing an original soundtrack score for Ron Howard's film adaptation of Dan Brown's pulp fiction blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. Apparently not. While the music here holds some of Zimmer's trademark dynamic and textural tropes, it is remarkably fresh and expertly nuanced. The high degree of melancholy in the first three sections -- "Dies Maercurii I Maritus," "L'Espirit des Gabriel," and "The Paschal Spiral" -- creates a remarkably brooding tension and a speculative sense of foreboding. The first of these, "Dies Mercurii I Maritus," with its piano and hovering stings, does give way to a large pastoral theme a little over halfway through, but even it is re-introduced by eerie, sparse strings (Hugh Marsh's solo violin playing throughout is his highest achievement yet in a career full of them) before they begin to pulse with suspense. Even here, Zimmer holds some of his cards in check, because this theme gives way to more complex shades, colors, and emotions that don't so much resolve as lead the listener in further. The cues on "Fructus Gravis" that assert themselves about a minute in and carry it out on a swirl of strings, soprano voices and piano, provide for one of those moments in film scoring where the entire range of emotion and ambivalence is revealed. The longer pieces, the aforementioned "Dies Mercurii," "Ad Arcana," "Daniel's 9th Cipher," and "Rose of Arimathea" carry within them those necessary elements not simply to color the screen narrative, but to underscore its meaning, its emotional transference, its sense of confusion, terror, and the impending revelation of a truth long buried. The use of faux Gregorian chant here is ingenious; it never feels contrived or simply layered in for authenticity. It is a genuine creative force and pushes the music into the nooks and crannies where dimension is what makes texture and pace come together in an instructive and creative whole. While this is to be expected in the larger cues, it's often in the incidental music a score falters, loses its place inside the bigger themes, yet Zimmer's control and vision holds firm and carries the listener on a journey that not only points toward the film it illustrates, but one of deep resonance that borders on the spiritual. No matter what aural side projects are created as a cash-in, this original score will stand on its own and should -- if there is any critical or commercial justice -- become a classic. One does wonder what happened to the planned collaboration with Armenian duduk master Djivan Gasparyan, who isn't present, but it's a small question in the end. Bravo.
Gramophone - Adrian Edwards
An auspicious score that deserves the popular success that the same composer's Gladiator received.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/09/2006
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0602498540411
catalogNumber:
000647902
Rank:
1678

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Hans Zimmer   Primary Artist
Nicholas Bucknail   Clarinet
Jonathan Snowden   Flute
Gary Kettel   Percussion
Frank Ricotti   Percussion
Paul Clarvis   Percussion
Hila Plitmann   Soprano
Hugh Marsh   Violin
Tom Bowes   Violin
Julie Andrews   Bassoon
Anthony Pleeth   Cello
Martin Tillman   Cello
Richard Harvey   Conductor
Richard Watkins   Horn
Gavyn Wright   Leader
David Theodore   Oboe
Peter Lale   Viola
Delores Clay   Vocals
Mary Scully   Double Bass
Mel Wesson   Ambience
Michael Price   Readings
Skaila Kanga   Harp
Nick Glennie-Smith   Choir Conductor

Technical Credits

Graham Preskett   Arranger
Hans Zimmer   Arranger,Producer
Henry Jackman   Arranger
Lorne Balfe   Arranger
Brian Grazer   Executive Producer
Ron Howard   Executive Producer
John Calley   Executive Producer
Abhay Manusmare   Text
Geoff Foster   Engineering
Becky Bentham   Score Coordinator
Jennie O'Grady   Choir Contractor
Nick Glennie-Smith   Arranger
Steven Kofsky   Production Service
Robert King   Choir Contractor

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Da Vinci Code [Original Movie Soundtrack] 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
It would seem that Zimmer was on a low note when he composed the score for The Da Vinci Code. I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of power in this soundtrack, as well as the extreme repetitiveness of the score. Many of the melodies have been created in such a way that they have no opportunity to develop, and instead are seem compelled to repeat themselves...over and over again. Only a few of the vocal/instrumental tracks I found to be satisfying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. It doesn't have the driving force of Batman Begins, but the quieter tone is beautiful and enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago