Han Zimmer has been a force in the film music world for since the early 80’s and while he has won Golden Globes, Grammy’s and numerous Academy Award nominations, often his most difficult works have received the least amount of praise. He struggled to learn Japanese music for The Last Samurai; it was nominated for a Golden Globe, but didn’t win. Tried to journey to Africa to record The Lion King and was denied an entry visa (although he did win an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his work). Last year he co-composed The Dark Knight with James Newton Howard which won a Grammy but failed to get nominated for either an Academy Award or Golden Globe.
This year he takes on Angels & Demons with a stunning rhythmic score with shadows and agony looming in every corner. In many respects the music feels as ancient as the stone work of the Vatican, and yet is fresh and alive moving with evocative aspects of science and reason striving to break down those ancient walls.
Joshua Bell gets a brief moment to shine with the opening violin solo in God Particle, the second track on this album. But soon the voices of the past (previous track) come rushing in. Even they are not strong enough to deal with the overall base of the piece, which could be at home in a science fiction film, with electronic and heavily reverberated bass track. The crystalline voices and electronica beat take us out of the past, beyond the now into something unknown – fitting for the title of the piece.
Later, in Science and Religion Joshua’s haunting violin is mixed with voices and electronic pads to float through twelve minutes of shear beauty. The shifts and sways of the music are constant and yet so subtle they happen without any awareness of the movement through the piece.
Overall this is a solid work. The music is rich, redolent and immensely attractive. It captures the primordial elements of man’s past while reaching forward to journey into the unimaginable.