With the film taking place in Montana, James Horner's epic score for Edward Zwick's Legends of the Fall really captures the beautiful nature - the huge mountains and the vast plains. Horner's orchestrations focus on the strings, and this, together with the huge orchestral sound, creates a very lush, sweeping and romantic sound. In fact Legends of the Fall contains some of the most beautiful music Horner has ever written. There are, however, some more dramatic parts, as well. "Samuel's Death", for instance, is a long cue, with excellent writing for brass. The cue has an incredible drive and energy, and gets more and more dramatic and reaches its heartbreaking and powerful climax when Samuel is shot and dies in his brothers arms.
Legends of the Fall is thematicly very rich, and is one of the few scores by Horner which makes use of leitmotifs, which means that many of the major charachters all have been assigned unique themes or motifs, which show up in the music when the person is on screen and so on. As many of the persons in the film are related - the story revolves around one family, the Ludlows - Horner chooses to make their themes somewhat similar, when it comes to harmony and style. Jointly for all themes in this score are their beautiful and sweeping sound.
The cue "The Ludlows" is the best demonstration of the different themes in the score. It opens with a piano rendition of the song "Twilight and Mist" - in the song sunged by Samuel (this theme is later used to symbolize him) - performed by Horner, before it moves into lush, and simply wonderful, orchestral renditions of the themes for the members of the Ludlow family.
Horner uses the desolate and wild sound of the Shakuhachi to portray, or symbolize, the more wild side of Tristan, Brad Pitt's charachter. The best example of its usage is the cue "Revenge". It's rather similiar to the track with the same title in Horner's score for Braveheart - shakuhachi, synths and percussion. As well as the haunting voice of Maggie Boyle. Very atmosperhic and eerie. Horner also makes use of the fiddle, performed by Jay Ungar, in some parts of the score.
All together Legends of the Fall is a wonderful score. The fact that the music is performed by the splendid London Symphony Orchestra add to the finishing touch, of course. And that the CD is long - around 75 minutes - just makes it more worth the money. The only negative I can think of is that the score can be a little depressing at times. This music is not exactly written for a story with a happy ending. But even so, this is a gorgeous score by James Horner.
Read other recent reviews by Andreas Lindahl: The Rocketeer
, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
, The Phantom of the Opera