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Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers Soundtrack  (Michael Kamen) - CD cover
Composer: Michael Kamen
Released: 2001 (Film release: 2001)
Label: Sony Classical US (0696998971929)
Sony Classical US (0886976085728)
Sony Classical EU (5099708971922)
Sony Classical Japan (4547366007817)
Type: Movie
Listen: iTunes Amazon.de MP3
Format: CD, Download
Reviewers (8.00/10)
Members (8.67/10) (24 votes)
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1. Main Theme (2:24)
2. Band of Brothers Suite One (6:31)
3. Band of Brothers Suite Two (9:15)
4. The Mission Begins (5:50)
5. Swamp (2:08)
6. Spiers' Speech (1:02)
7. Fire on Lake (2:16)
8. Parapluie (2:17)
9. Boy Eats Chocolate (1:18)
10. Bull's Theme (3:21)
11. Winters on Subway (1:54)
12. Headscarf (4:11)
13. Buck in Hospital (2:01)
14. Plaisir D'amour (1:56)
15. Preparing for Patrol (2:32)
16. String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor (Opus 131), Beethoven (2:13)
17. Discovery of the Camp (10:59)
18. Nixon's Walk (2:18)
19. Austria (2:01)
20. Band of Brothers Requiem (Maire Brennan/Zoe Kamen) (3:18)

Total duration: 69 minutes
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Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at , score: 8/10
With the music for the HBO mini series Band of Brothers, composer Michael Kamen returns with one of his strongest and best scores in years, up there with the music for The Iron Giant and What Dreams May Come. It's hard not to draw any parallells to John Williams' score for Saving Private Ryan. Both because of the similar settings and eras of the two stories - as they both take place in Europe during World War II, focusing on a group of American soldiers - but also because Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are two of those responsible for this lavish mini series. Apparently Tom Hanks got the idea while doing research for Spielberg's film, and once again teamed up with Michael Kamen, who he also worked with on the successful From the Earth to the Moon mini series.

So, is it anything like Saving Private Ryan Well, both yes and no. Yes, because both scores approach the horrors of war pretty much the same way - very seriously, restrained, elegiac and dark. And yes, because the orchestrations are somewhat similar, dominated by slow strings and solemn brass elegies, with worldless choir in a couple of cues. And no, because this is clearly a score composed by Michael Kamen and none other, his style being very prominent and clearly audible throughout the entire CD.

The album opens with the beautiful "Main Theme", which, dominated by strings and full choir, is one of the best cues on the disc. The theme is very lyrical and sad. And sure, there are hints of Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen" in there, but that's a connection that is a little too easy to make and therefore a thought that doesn't last very long. Next up are two great, long suites. This is really the only time in the score the music is allowed to swell and be heroic and exciting. Kamen's typical writing for brass dominates, supported by percussion and excited and ascending ostinato strings, and it's sometimes really close to sounding like something straight out of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, both when it comes to thematic material and orchestral sound. But it's really good. Great stuff. Especially the second suite, which I can imagine being used for some sporting event in the future. The Olympics, for example, since it has a very uplifting and exciting quality to it.

"The Mission Begins" is almost equally grand, with calling horns, pounding timpani and snare drum, albeit walking a slightly darker path, creating a very tensed and serious mood that grows stronger when the fifth cue, "Swamp", takes over the stage. Opening with a lonely flute, with soft, high strings in the background, the heroism and excitement are completely gone as Band of Brothers almost turns into a totally different score, leaving the brass at the door and focusing on the strings, with hints of woodwinds and piano, instead. It's really restrained, introvert and serious, at times ("Parapluie") reminding me of the desperate, heart aching music he created for What Dreams May Come. However, it's also a little boring at times, if we're going to be totally honest, since it has a tendency to get a little repetetive and depressing. But it's beautiful, none the less and it never gets schmaltzy, proving that Kamen is more than capable of writing serious drama scores, even though many claim he isn't.

The score and the CD closes with the almost divine Band of Brothers Requiem". With full orchestra, choir and vocals by Maire Brennan and Zoe Kamen reprising the main theme, this is a perfect ending to a splendid score that no doubt should put Kamen back on the map of top composers. If he ever left it, that is.

For more soundclips and information about the soundtrack, visit Sony Classical's Band of Brothers site at www.bandofbrotherssoundtrack.com.

Read other recent reviews by Andreas Lindahl: The Rocketeer, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Phantom of the Opera

Review of Tom Daish, submitted at , score: 8/10
Band of Brothers could loosely be described as the mini series spin off to Saving Private Ryan, right down to being produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The slightly documentary style and the gritty, realistic battle sequences certainly recalls Spielberg's film. Reaction to the series has been mixed, some hailing a television masterpiece, others less inspired. I do rather wander if it's the kind of thing that simply needs to be watch in one long sitting rather than in episodic format; when the DVD comes out, I'll try and find out. To match the high quality production (easily as good as Saving Private Ryan itself), Michael Kamen was brought in to pen the score - which must have been quite a tough workload given the number of episodes and sheer amount of music.

The Main Theme is done in a Hymn to the Fallen style choral memorium which is just stunning set against the montage opening titles sequence and is quite beautiful in its own terms. Not perhaps as moving as Hymn to the Fallen, but none the less a worthy successor. I'm not entirely sure how the sequencing of the album was considered, but the next two tracks are simply suites one and two, seemingly a collection of all the more rousing material from the score. Not quite action music, a lot of it is rousing, brassy and militaristic, but in a fairly non patriotic way. Still, stirring stuff and one of the few parts of the score that contains Kamen's more distinctive harmonies and progressions.

Having appeared to have set a scene for a rousing score, the album becomes very much more subdued. The brass goes on holiday and somber strings combined with woodwind become the order of the day. It is perhaps a fraction hard to take given the sudden shift in tone to something somewhat more understated and serious - the two suites are not exactly subtle at times - but Kamen's dramatic sense is superb and the writing is still superb unto itself. Things do inevitably sag at times, the thematic material isn't always as memorable, although the occasional appearance of the main theme always help. The short Beethoven string quartet fits right into the fabric of the score, you almost need to concentrate specifically to notice it, so similar is it in tone, if not compositional style.

Things pick up somewhat towards the end and culminate in the Band of Brothers Requiem, a kind of alternate version to the Main Theme with the addition of soaring vocals by Maire Brennan and Kamen's daughter Zoe. While starting in instantly memorable style, the bulk of the score requires more careful attention to appreciate, although even the most attentive might find it dragging slightly in places. Having said that, it's still a very noble effort and another great addition to Kamen's catalogue.

Read other recent reviews by Tom Daish: The Snow Files: The Film Music of Mark Snow, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Andromeda

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Trailer:



This soundtrack trailer contains music of:

Alive (1993), James Newton Howard (Movie)


See also: All trailers
Soundtracks from the collection: HBO Films & Series

Tuskegee Airmen, The (1995) Citizen X (1995) Something the Lord Made (2008) Special Relationship, The (2010) Angels in America (2003) 61* (2002) Game of Thrones (2011) Treme (2010) As You Like It (2007) Band of Brothers (2001)

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