I have waited so long for this score to be released, and finally here it is. When I first heard that Williams and Spielberg were making this film, I thought Williams were going to compose a very bold and lush score with heavy brass fanfares and so on. You know, a traditional score for a traditional war movie. But as time went by, we learned that Spielberg, and Williams were taking a different aproach with this movies (none of the battle sequences are scored for example). Saving Private Ryan
is, I think, one of John Williams
' most emotional scores Schindler's List
is still number one of course.). The music is rather dark and solemn, with a lot of low strings and brass, especially horns. Williams uses the snare drum in some cues, to create a military, perhaps a little patriotic, sound, but it's never used too much - just a subtle roll now and then.
A lot of people have said that Saving Private Ryan
is an uninteresting and boring score, and that William's could, and should, have done much better. (Perhaps they fell in love with the trailer music, The American President
by Marc Shaiman
. I don't know.) "Nothing happens in the music. It just floats on." I think that many expected Williams to write some great action music for the action scenes, and sure, it would have been nice, but I like this different approach very much. Sure, sometimes it gets a little boring and uninteresting, but I like it anyway, for some reason.
Sometimes the score sounds very much like James Horner
's Courage Under Fire
, especially the tracks High School
Teacher" and "The Last Battle". One of the themes is very reminiscent of Horner's main theme for that film, for instance.
The album is framed by Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen", a piece written for orchestra and choir. This composition is played over the end credits, and is never heard in the actual film. The piece opens with a slow snare drum before the choir is heard for the first time, very subtle, supported by primarily woodwinds. The music builds up, with powerful brass and choir to a wonderful emotional climax. This cue is without doubt going to become a classic. "It's a piece of music and a testament to John Williams
' sensitivity and brilliance that, in my opinion, will stand the test of time and honor forever the fallen of this war and possibly all wars", to quote Spielberg in the liner notes.
Read other recent reviews by Andreas Lindahl: The Rock
, The Phantom of the Opera
, Peter Pan