Legends of the Fall (James Horner)
Horner takes a leitmotivic approach to the score, with several great themes weaving reflecting a character or an element of the storyline. The first theme to be introduced is also the most prominent throughout the score, first introduced on solo trumpet, an then the rest of the orchestra slowly builds up the piece whilst the shakuhachi flute adds a somewhat eerie sense to the music, with brilliant effect.
The next theme is that for the Ludlow family, and is easily the best of them all. Indeed, some would argue it’s Horner’s single best piece from a film score. It opens with a lovely solo piano performance, and is then given a lush rendition by the string section of the orchestra. There’s only one thing to say – glorious.
The action music is equally excellent, with the cue “Samuel’s Death” being particularly notable, an eight minute long piece of orchestral mayhem representing the horrors of war. The romantic music is also great, with “Alfred Moves to Helena” probably being the best.
The final track on the album is quite possibly the best piece of music Horner has ever written. No other composer manages to put together such long pieces of music for an album, and this twelve minute piece demonstrates Horner’s ability there to the highest possible degree. Throughout the piece he weaves an incredible musical tapestry, linking all the themes together perfectly. It’s just pure magic.
In sum, this score is a masterpiece that deserves to be included in the collection of any film music fan. Few 75 minute long albums are not too long, but this is certainly one of them. It’s the best score of its year, one of the best of the 90’s, and probably the best score Horner has ever written. Seek with the utmost confidence.
2. The Ludlows (5:40)
3. Off to War (5:55)
4. To the Boys… (2:49)
5. Samuel’s Death (8:24)
6. Alfred Moves to Helena (3:01)
7. Farewell / Descent into Madness (8:13)
8. The Changing Seasons / Wild Horses / Tristan’s Return (5:11)
9. The Wedding (3:06)
10. Isabel’s Murder / Recollections of Samuel (3:58)
11. Revenge (6:20)
12. Goodbyes (3:12)
13. Alfred, Tristan, the Colonel, the Legend… (15:09)
Total Time: 75:18
Music Composed, Conducted & Produced by James Horner
Orchestrated by Thomas Pasatieri & Don Davis
Performed by The London Symphony Orchestra
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score (nominated)
The liner notes contain credits and a note from the film’s director Edward Zwick
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