1. Yekeleni Part I/Mia's Lullabye (2:35)
2. Heart Of Darkness (2:01)
3. Small Piece For Doumbek And Strings/Kopano Part I (8:55)
4. Under The Forest Calm (1:07)
5. Yekeleni Part II/Carnage (7:55)
6. Kopano Part II (2:25)
7. Night (2:34)
8. Cry In Silence (2:04)
9. The Jablonsky Variations On A Theme By HZ/Cameroon Border Post (Steve Jablonsky) (8:42)
10. The Journey/Kopano Part III (8:17)
I wonder if Hans Zimmer is attempting to revive the early days of in house music departments, whereby the head of department (Hans, of course) gets all the plum assignments, but even then, has plenty of underlings to help him out. The very first Oscars for best score were not awarded to the composer, but to the head of department and in a similar way, Tears of the Sun is credited to Zimmer, when in fact most of the work is done by others. Not to suggest there is anything wrong with group efforts, indeed Zimmer's collaborations with Lisa Gerrard and Heitor Pereira have had good results, but to call Tears of the Sun a Hans Zimmer score is somewhat overstating the case. Along with both Gerrard and Pereira, Lebo M, Steve Jablonsky, Andreas Vollenweider, Martin Tillmann and Jim Dooley all contribute, many doing entire tracks without Zimmer's input at all. For all that, Tears of the Sun has some effective moments, even if it does rather lack direction. Think a less chaotic version of Black Hawk Down crossed with Cry Freedom and a dash of Thin Red Line and you have Tears of the Sun. While there are many good moments, quite a lot has a distinctly improvised feel, but the results don't feel like an out pouring of invention, more like musical doodling. The most striking moments are undoubtedly the fusion action cues; Yekeleni Part II, has an impressively brutal assault of percussion, as do the exciting Jablonsky Variations (although not really variations in the strict sense, perhaps doodling on a theme of...) which move from a hymnal Lisa Gerrard opening to an inspired and thrilling mixture of percussion and Lebo M vocals. Lebo M is perhaps the most important of the collaborators, his quasi-authentic African chants are never less than thrilling, even if they have started to sound a little alike. The quiet moments range from the quite lovely, notably Small Piece for Doumbek and Strings (not sure about the quasi-comical track names) to the rather banal, cues such as Kopano Part II and Night sticking resolutely to atmosphere and not much else.
The finest moments are undoubtedly in the three tracks over eight minutes, the final two make the intervening slack periods seem worth the wait. Jablonsky Variations is undoubtedly one of the most exciting action cues I've heard in absolutely ages; the layers of quick and vibrant percussion, vocals and an effectively counterpointed slow theme in the orchestra, are probably not quite as complex as they seem - it is just orchestral adagios with drumming - but the effectiveness cannot be denied. Had the rest of the score matched this level of quality, it would likely be a contender for score of the year, maybe Zimmer should have done some of the slow movements himself. I'm sure they are wonderful for atmosphere in the film, but do become wearisome on disc. Although not really more than the sum of its parts, Tears of the Sun has some of the most memorable and exhilarating moments even penned for a contemporary action flick and for that, it can be recommended.
Bruce Willis in a war film. Of course Hans Zimmer and his Media Ventures friends should score it. And with the film taking place in Africa, throw Lebo M into the mix, as well. And Lisa Gerrard. The result? A pretty good score with some excellent action cues, vocals and beautiful string elegies. But Tears of the Sun is above all a very dark score. And a group effort, more than a solo effort. Apart from Zimmer himself, Heitor Periera, the already mentioned Lisa Gerrard and Lebo M, Steve Jablonsky, Andreas Vollenweider, Martin Tillmann and Jim Dooley have contributed to and collaborated with Zimmer on this score. And although Zimmer has been involved (so much that he deserves a "composed by" credit, that is) in seven of the ten tracks, three of the cues are written without Zimmer's involvement - the opening Yekeleni Part I/Mia's Lullabye, Under the Forest Calm and Cry in Silence.
Although Tears of the Sun is a pretty good score it takes some time to deliver, just like it takes some time to really get below the surface of the score. There's a lot of dark underscore, which at first seems totaly bland and uninteresting but reveals its true character and form after a few listens, even if it never gets really impressive and satisfying listening to. It's not until the third track, "Small Piece for Doumbek and Strings" that the score truly takes flight for the first time, with some slow strings, backed up by African styled percussion and vocals and an appearance by Lisa Gerrard, whom, together with Zimmer's strings, remind the listener of the Gladiator score.
"Under the Forest Calm" features some acoustic guitar writing and playing by Heitor Pereira. A very quiet and calm cue, which is easy to miss. Quite short - just one minute long - too. The tracks co-written by Lebo M are mostly very nice, with African vocals that at times sounds like a darker version of Zimmer's The Power of One, while other times creating a sound more similar to Horner's caothic action writing in Four Feathers. And it's also the Lebo M and Zimmer tracks that offer the best music in this score. Especially the two last ones. "The Jablonsky Variations on a Theme by HZ/Cameroon Border Post" opens with some strong strings and vocals but is soon replaced by an impressive Media ventures action piece with an African twist. Vocals, percussion, synths, brass and strings create six minutes of adrenaline pumping action. Superb. But it gets even better. The closing "The Journey/Kopano Part III" gives the listener eight minutes of wonderful African choir music backed up by acoustic guitar and Zimmer's orchestral tour de force. One of those uplifting pieces, although perhaps a little repetetive. But the way it just grows and grows until it explodes in a gorgeous finale is just... well, great.
But the rest of the score fail to impress and is at times rather mediocre. And schizophrene. One can't help but wonder what the result would have been had Zimmer written the entire score himself. Probably more cohesive.