War Horse (John Williams)Posted: December 16, 2011
Final Musings: John Williams has outdone himself with a powerful musical journey that harkens back to the melodious glory of Far and Away. With gorgeous themes and amazing thematic integrity, the maestro impresses on both a technical and emotional level. Although the lack of a dominant theme (despite the score’s strong memorability) may be a deterring factor to some fans, the diversity of the score is just far too great to take that into consideration. The score may not be without flaws, but all thoughts of them are gone by the end of this magical experience. Yet another impressive feat by the great maestro.
Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s novel, War Horse has reached extraordinary heights in terms of popularity in recent years. After the hit play adaption in 2007, Spielberg immediately took the opportunity to make a cinematic experience out of the narrative. The novel is written in the perspective of a horse by the name of Joey. The story follows the tale of the horse that undergoes the traumatic experiences of World War I to return to his owner. In terms of narrative structure, the novel offers obstacles for a traditional presentation. But the stage production’s adaptation seems to have confirmed Spielberg’s success with his film.
Accompanying the legendary director on this venture is his long time collaborator, the maestro John Williams. It’s interesting to note how this is actually the 25th collaboration between these two titans of the film industry. Time and time again, Williams has provided the world with scores of exceptional quality. Often abundant in themes, glowing with memorability and enticing in their musical styles, Williams has rarely failed to attest to his status as the best of the film score industry. Unfortunately, with Williams slowly progressing into his semi-retirement phase, fans have been receiving fewer projects from the legend. Especially in the last 6 years in which he only scored Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skulls. However, about a month ago, the man broke the drought with one of his best scores in years for The Adventures of Tintin. The work clearly showed how the maestro continues to provide scores of enormous intellectual depth and exciting action in a world where mundane derivative stylings seems to be the trend. This same spirit crosses over to his score for Spielberg’s latest drama, although with arguably different results.
With War Horse, John Williams concocts a beautiful musical universe. While the composer’s trademark melodramatic sensibilities are clearly there, Williams deceptively manipulates his style to create a distinctively fresh sound in this score. This idea itself validates the still standing ingenuity of the maestro. What really contributes to the fresh sound is the diversity of the musical tapestry of the score. Clearly this score sounds like he had a stroke of inspiration to compose for a film he must have felt truly compassionate about.
Williams has often professed his love for English music, yet oddly enough much of War Horse takes a Celtic tone in its music. The score is largely comprised of beautiful Celtic tones infused with Williams’ classic Americana stylings. Some may find themselves baffled by the choice of representing the English, gloomy settings with colour Celtic musical shades, but to the general mainstream, one cannot tell the difference. Moreover, the Celtic flavor most definitely elevates this score to gorgeous heights.
As mentioned before, War Horse manages to be fresh while inhabiting many of Williams’ familiar sounds. Well, to many listeners of classical music, the influence of Ralph Vaugh Williams’ music will be quite apparent as the score acts as a great tribute to the composer. However, the score more so harkens back to one of the best scores of Williams’ career; Far and Away. The Narracotts’ theme, the nature theme and Joey’s Antics are all sounds that seem to have come straight out of Far and Away. The beautiful sounds of War Horse will truly blow you away. The musical representation of the war scenes on the other hand bring listeners back to Williams’ more patriotic tones for Born on the Fourth of July and JFK. The war theme may sound like a cousin to the main theme for JFK for some. Another concept to take into note is the action music. It’s more along the veins for what Williams wrote for Born on the Fourth of July and JFK. With its dissonance and density, one will be brought back to the tension in JFK. The action often reaches riveting heights in cues like No Man’s Land, which take a unique and refreshing spin on Williams’ action music. The brief nature of the action may disappoint some, but the material continues to rival the best action of the year.
Another aspect of War Horse to marvel at is the enormous diversity. There is the lyrical string section that evokes the pastoral settings of Dartmoor. The swinging low woodwinds of the beginning portion and the snarling snares of the action cues are other elements that contribute to the score’s diversity. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the bewitching flute solos performed by Louise Di Tullio. The flute often lends itself to the nature theme, which clearly makes sense. The beautiful organic sounds of the instrument act as the voice of nature in the film. In order to capture the gorgeous scenic landscapes of the film, Williams really does enrapture the beauty of the panoramic views of the countryside with a truly enchanting theme. This is seriously a major selling point in the score. Its been rare, even in Williams career to evocate such a lovely sound (the last time arguably being Far and Away) and it’s been quite a long time since anything resembling this beauty has ever been achieved in film scores in general. John Williams utilizes other solo elements in the score as well. This includes the touching piano solo in Remembering Emilie, and Finale. In addition, there is also the noble, patriotic solos of Tim Morrison; a man who is clearly no stranger to film score fans. His solos often play out the war theme, and here he impressively continues to evoke the same noble tones that he has often infused in his solos for Apollo 13, Born on the Fourth of July.
At this point, one cannot go on without reiterating the marvelous package that War Horse really is. There is just so much to love in this score and really; it just goes to show that no one is better at this game than Williams. And now, I must expand on the magnificent thematic qualities of War Horse. First of all, the listener must understand that War Horse is a work of musical maturation. In fact, one can go as far as dividing the score into 3 acts (much like a stage production) that really reflect the 3 primary stages of the narrative of the film. Act one is generally comprised of the first 6 tracks. This act musically portrays the beauty of the bright landscape of Dartmoor and the bonding between Joey (the horse) and Albert Narracott (the protagonist). The specified portion will likely appeal most to listeners as most of the attractive themes and flute solos play out here. The second act (tracks 7-13) appropriately abandons the themes from the first act as Joey is brought to the alien world of war. Accordingly, the act is comprised of all the action material and the thematic representations of war. Finally the third act is the shortest, being comprised of only 3 cues (tracks 14-16). Here, the major themes heard in the first act return but in diminished form due to the consequences of war. There are arguably five major themes in the score. The score immediately opens up with the nature theme. This theme is often first introduced on Tullio’s flute solos before being played out by luscious string passages. Personally, this is my favourite theme and is one of Williams most impressive thematic feats of the decade. Spielberg proclaims in his note that “the earth was speaking through him” in this score and this is arguably the best theme to reinforce the notion. The next major theme is the Dartmoor theme, which also makes its debut in the opening cue. This is a gorgeous theme of grandeur that acts as the musical representation of the spirit of Dartmoor and its people. It goes on to often signify the pastoral settings of the farmers in the locale. This theme eventually evolves into a more tragic, mourning melody in the final act. You first hear this new variation at 3:04 in The Reunion. The final form of this theme is probably due to the tragic inflictions that the war forced upon the people of Dartmoor. You do hear Dartmoor theme’s cheerful forms again in the final suite, The Homecoming. To go on, the Narracott’s theme is a lovely Celtic melody that is easily assigned to the Narracotts family and the farmers with its driving nature. Simply listen to its relentlessly engaging variations in Plowing to get a sense of farming and the work in the rural settings of the locale. This theme arguably only lasts in the first act (and returns in the final suite) as it represents the spirit of agriculture as a whole. Perhaps the most memorable main theme (and I say ‘perhaps’ because there are many memorable themes in this score) is the bonding theme that was featured on the trailer for the film. This is arguably the main theme of the entire film and it makes its debut at 3:17 in Bringing Joey Home, and Bonding. Its warmth is often played out nobly by the horns and thus effectively lures the listener into the emotional relationship between Albert and Joey. Finally, we have the war theme, which is first heard, at the beginning of the 2nd act at 2:31 in Ruined Crop, and Going to War. Tim Morrison’s trumpet solos almost always play the theme in order to appropriately act as a call to war.
Of course, one may be wondering why a film about a horse does not have a theme for the horse. Well Joey does get a theme, in fact he gets two. His main theme features in act and is first hinted at in the Auction. This first theme shall be referred to henceforth as Joey’s Antics. Joey’s Antics plays out during Albert’s attempts to train the horse and in all his cheeky, humorous and cute horse moments in the film that will probably put a smile on the audiences face. The secondary theme is a harmonically related cousin that is Joey’s own friendship theme that plays out when Joey is simply making new friends. This theme first features fully in the 2nd act in Joey’s New Friends. It returns in a mellower rendition at Remembering Emilie, and Finale. It is interesting to note however, that Williams does cleverly (as always) hint at this theme earlier on in the first act (more on this at the cue by cue analysis). Another secondary theme to keep in mind is the discovery theme, which plays out at two specific moments. Firstly, arguably when Albert first discovers Joey at 2:15 in Bringing Joey Home, and Bonding. The second time is arguably when Albert and Joey reunite for the first time after the war at the beginning of the Reunion (this moment may sound familiar as it opened the original trailer for the film). Other motifs that Williams integrates into his thematic tapestry include the Dartmoor Drive. This is heard early on in the score and is used to connect the Narracotts theme and the Dartmoor theme through its harmonically related notes. It is a churning motif on strings and low woodwinds. The idea can be first heard at 1:17 in Dartmoor, 1912. This motif is used brilliantly to create a sense of musical unity as it often connects many of the major themes in the first act. To simply put it, this is yet another musical identity for the joy of farming (hence you don’t hear it in the other 2 acts). Another motif that might interest some others is actually an action motif that appears in the 2nd act. This debuts at 0:31 in the The Desertion and can be considered as the chaos motif as it gets its most frenetic statements in No Man’s Land. The motif arguably represents the chaotic and ever dangerous frenzy of the horrifying fields of No Man’s Land.
Before going on, one should stop for a bit and marvel at the thematic integrity of this score (not unlike Williams’ earlier feat with The Adventures of Tintin). Williams often interweaves the main themes and motifs amongst each other into a stunning tapestry of powerful ideas (this will be expanded upon later). Yet Williams goes beyond this with his effort. Williams intelligently takes on the effort of creating a genuine sense of interconnectivity in the constructs of the main themes. If one observes the themes carefully, embedded in its constructs is a three-note motif that is rising and falling in many of the themes. This consequently depicts a great sense of interconnectivity musically. The three note phrases appear outside of the construct of the themes as well in moments such as 1:11 in Ruined Crop, and Going to War. Moreover, the themes actually evolve intelligently. For instance, the third act portrays the main themes in a diminished manner to portray the pains inflicted on all the concepts that the bright themes of the first act originally represented. As mentioned before, the Dartmoor theme evolves to a very different form, which loses its former pastoral grandeur and portrays instead a theme of mourning. In addition, many of the themes are harmonically related. One example would be the Dartmoor theme and the bonding theme, which are cousins musically (in fact, one might even make the mistake of assuming that the Dartmoor theme was the B phrase theme of the Bonding theme).
Perhaps a cue-by-cue analysis will aid the reader in understanding the intellectual techniques utilized in this score.
1] Dartmoor, 1912
The journey begins with Di Tullio’s gorgeous flute solo. The beautiful instrument plays out the nature theme and is then joined in by the lyrical strings. One easily grasps the beautiful imagery on screen as the accordion joins in with a lovely line of its own. At 1:17, we hear the Dartmoor Drive with the hyperactive bass lines leading up into the pulsating brass at 1:33. This signifies the opening of the Narracotts Theme. The lovely Celtic theme is backed up by the Dartmoor Drive and eventually leads us into an extraordinary crescendo of the Dartmoor theme at 2:09. The strings fade out from the climax with the woodwinds to allow the listener sometime to breathe before it brings back the Narracotts theme again which in turn brings forth a final conclusive statement of the Dartmoor theme. This is a fantastic way to open up such a great score. From its beautiful scenic opening to its glorious musical expressions of the English folk, this cue acts as a great summary of 3 of the main themes in a grand fashion.
2] The Auction
The cue opens up with a lovely swinging Celtic flavoured (like many other themes in this score) melody. However what you’re hearing is actually the pre-cursor to Joey’s Antics. One can assume that Joey is about to be bought at this moment. One highlight is the intoxicating swinging rhythms of the orchestra. Especially at moments like 1:18 where the bass just sweeps you away. On can tell that the orchestra had fun with this. At 1:55, a 3-note motif on harps leads us into woodwind passages. We are given hints of the nature theme at 2:36, which is further explored at 2:51. The cue ends on a more ominous note, leaving listeners wondering what happened. This cue acts as the early debut of Joey’s thematic material.
3] Bringing Joey Home, and Bonding
One can assume that the protagonist or another character is currently trying to sneak Joey into his home. Williams plays this out musically with a fun, jaunty, swinging mischievous melody on the basses and low strings. At 1:00, the Dartmoor theme plays out on mellow yet beautiful low flutes. From here, the initial jaunty melody pertains to much of the first half of the cue with the Dartmoor theme popping in here and there. At 2:16, the Discovery motif is taken on at the low octave by the flute. This moment probably denotes the first significant meeting/connection with Joey and the protagonist. It is a beautiful melody with a more celestial sense of beauty. The oboes and the clarinets in a mellow fashion lead us into the first statement of the bonding theme at 3:17. At this point, we realize that the relationship between Albert and Joey had sprung, and the adventure has only begun. From 3:53, the woodwinds do a little dance that might have listeners wondering if Snowy came out of his animated world to pay a little visit 😉
4] Learning the Call
The beautiful string passages immediately sets out to establish the English setting. It as these moments that Williams offers the English sound musically. Then at 0:18, the pace begins to pick up. One might initially assume that what they’re listening is just a variation of the Dartmoor Drive but it actually is not. In fact, it is the first 4 notes of Joey’s secondary theme, Joey’s friendship theme. Perhaps Williams is hinting at a new friend for the horse. This is followed by rushing string lines that lead into a beautiful statement of the bonding theme at 0:29. At 0:43, listeners are being introduced to Joey’s Antics. It is a delightfully playful melody that plays out as Albert attempts to train the horse. This goes for some time until the Dartmoor Drive takes over and leads us into the pulsating brass the woodwind lines that play out the Narracotts theme. This alternates between the B phrase of Joey’s Antics (the 8 chords) and the Narracotts theme all tied up neatly with the Dartmoor Drive binding it together. The cue ends off with a quiet statement of the Narracotts theme.
5] Seeding, and Horse vs. Car
Once again Williams establishes the English setting with a combination of luscious string passages and thoughtful woodwind lines. This followed by a sanguine statement of the nature theme on the strings to evoke to beauty of the landscape. The oboe then takes the spotlight and provides a lyrical solo to really bring out the prevalence of nature in the scene. But things aren’t quiet for long when you’ve got the Dartmoor Drive churning at 2:16 to warn us of the glorious statement of Dartmoor theme that soon follows. The orchestra then begins to dance with the B Phrase of Joey’s Antics playing out on the strings as the Narracotts theme weaves in and out. One way to look at it is as a dance between Albert and Joey as both themes interweave. The piece ends on a triumphant note.
This is arguably the best cue in this fantastic score. The cue is a piece of work that does an extraordinary job of building up the tension while melding many of the main themes. Simply extraordinary stuff here. The piece begins with well paced bass lines tugging us into the Narracotts theme. At this point, the listener will realize that this cue is all about that tension that the maestro is brilliantly crafting. It is clear something very significant is about to happen (hmm….maybe it has something to do with plowing :P, lucky guess…). As the key changes, the relentless bass can truly be enticing. The first gorgeous crescendo then soars on beautiful strings at 1:42 to epitomize the ultimate celebration of the pastoral settings of the locale. This is definitely one of the most impressive English moments in the score. The crescendo is followed by a great statement of the bonding theme to signify that things aren’t over yet. The pace is back on, and Williams is back on building that tension again with alternating phrases of the Narracotts theme. It is at 2:27 that listeners encounter yet another brilliant musical moment as the Dartmoor theme plays on top of beautifully layered descending phrases of the Narracotts theme. But again, the maestro is relentless with his purpose, the pace is on again and this time allowing the Narracotts theme more time to breathe with fuller statements of the theme. The orchestra dies down a bit only to lead us into the most glorious crescendo of the entire score. At 3:33, the bonding theme bursts with astounding string passages that are followed by impressive statements of the Dartmoor theme. Personally, this is one of my most favourite parts in the score. At this point, Williams clearly tells us that Albert and Joey have achieved success and as the excitement dies down, the music looks to nature with a gorgeous flute solo playing out the nature theme. The thematic manipulation along with the interweaving with the many themes is nothing short of brilliance. This is when we know that Williams is really at his A game. What a way to close the first act!
7] Ruined Crop, and Going to War
The bright colourful tone of the first act has faded. The oboes along with the strings play out in a woeful and melancholic fashion. An appropriate way to set the tone for the upcoming war. At 1:12, the recurring the 3 note motif plays out to build up the tension towards an upcoming event. After some beautiful meandering passages, the bonding theme plays out for the last time until the last act at 2:08. Upon the conclusion of the statement, the war theme makes its debut on a noble solo trumpet. The strings take on the theme too as Joey the horse is sold. Signifying the call of war, listeners now realize the musical journey is definitely taking a very different direction.
8] The Charge and Capture
Williams does not open with the war theme but rather a brief noble call on the trumpet with stressed layers of strings in the background. At 0:28, the snares begin to play out against layered dissonant string rhythms (although still very listenable). The brass booms out the horrors of the war creating a powerful effect through its multi-rhythmic nature. The action dies down eventually to introduce a sorrowful statement of the war theme at 1:50. The orchestra plays out a dramatically tragic passage that is especially appealing from 2:39. The sudden dramatic shift in the music signifies an entirely different world.
9] The Desertion
Quiet layers of strings and woodwinds leads into the pulsating strings and brass as the action begins. One can imagine this as Joey running for his dear life out in somewhere like No Man’s Land. The orchestra is playing alternate phrases of the chaos on the strings. This motif can especially be heard on the brass at 1:08. The action dies again for another passage of mourning in the tragedy of the unfolding events.
10] Joey’s New Friends
This cue opens up with the first full statement of Joey’s secondary theme, his friendship theme. It seems that Joey has made new friends in this unfamiliar world. Although Williams never fully plays it out, he does hint at Joey’s Antics here in a very subtle manner. It really begins at 1:43, where the harps and the woodwinds play around. But more specifically one should listen to the two chords that consistently from 2:43. Those two chords are actually made up of the 6 note phrase that can be found in Joey’s Antics (specific example; Learning the Call – 1:17 to 1:20). Just a little fun nod as the horse has some playful moments. The cue ends on a humorous note, but on a more mellow note when compared to the first act.
11] Pulling the Cannon
One of the best action tracks in the score (2nd behind No Man’s Land). It opens up with relentless bass rhythm that ominously builds up with the brass before the orchestra gets shattered by a frighteningly menacing tremolo on the bass at 1:02. Over these dark layers, the war theme signifies the beginning of battle. The orchestra begins combat as the string sections battle each other. A great sense of dramatic action is prevalent when the brass kicks in. At 2:03, the snares join in adding rhythmic flair to the rising string figures. At 2:36, the orchestra mourns with the strings before the bass trembles to lead the cue on to a more ominous note to portray the horrors on screen.
12] The Death of Topthorn
As the name clearly states, this cue is a beautifully tragic elegy on the cellos that mourns for the death of Topthorn. There is a genuine sense of melodrama here. In fact, listeners may find themselves returning to some of the descending passages of Revenge of the Sith here. The magic begins when the clarinet plays out a beautiful melody only to be joined later by the full orchestra. At 1:51, the music takes a more hopeful turn as the orchestra takes a fantastic route in terms of melody. Here, Williams shows the world how a scene of tragedy should be scored. A beautiful piece of work.
13] No Man’s Land
Well, this is a mixed bag! Williams portrays the horrors and the tension in the battlefield with 1:50 of quiet dissonant layers. This large amount will seem uninteresting but it must be endured to get to the best action material in the score and arguably one of the best moments of action in the year. At 1:51, the tremolos lead into the jaunty snare rhythms. The chaos motif is churning out on the low strings and continues to do so as the brass kicks in. This is unlike Williams’ usual action style but it may have benefitted the cue as it truly is an extraordinary piece of action. The war theme soars at 2:43 over layers of the chaos motif. When this piece soars, you can’t help but do something heroic! At 3:17, the brass rises to its heroic height as Joey gets into action to possibly save lives. The action begins to descend into more chaos as the situation gets worse. The chaos motif then alternates between the different string sections as the cue closes on an ominous note. An impressive finale to Act II.
14] The Reunion
Albert and Joey reunite for the first time after the horrible war. The ethereal Discovery motif opens the cue on the piano. A warm statement of the bonding theme follows this. Gone are the noble horns this time as the theme is diminished in its stature due to the horrors of war. Joey and Albert have been through a lot since their separation. The flutes then take up the bonding theme to lead into a lyrical oboe passage. Yet slowly, the former glory of their friendship is regained as the horns take on the bonding theme at 2:17. At 3:03, you actually hear the Dartmoor theme, but it’s changed, its different. The war has changed the spirit of Dartmoor. And so, Williams bends them theme into a much more melodramatic fashion. This cue is easily one of the highlights of the score. Masterful scoring.
15] Remembering Emilie, and Finale
The cue opens up with the bonding theme on the flute. It truly is beautiful to hear the lovely passages of this theme again. At 1:18, Joey’s friendship theme returns again to signify another one of Joey’s relationships. The bonding theme leads the orchestra into a tragic piano solo of the tragic rendition of the Dartmoor theme. While the piano is certainly alluring in its performances, the true highlight begis from 3:12 when the cellos take on the Dartmoor theme. This is simply some gorgeous cello writing. The music is so expressive that one cannot help but feel touched by the power of Williams’ writing. At 3:56, the horns take up the bonding theme to its former glory in a resounding finale. The cue however actually concludes with a noble statement of the war theme. And with strings, the cue fades to its conclusion. This too is one of the major highlights of the score. A must have for any Williams collector.
16] The Homecoming
This cue is actually a suite of many of the major themes in the score; hence it shall not be explored as much in detail. The track opens up with the Narracotts theme on the flute only to be followed by Joey’s Antics. The theme plays around for quite a bit until the gorgeous flute solo plays out the nature theme at 2:20. The flute then is joined by the string passages of the theme with some truly stunning results. Upon the conclusion of that statement, the flute takes up a charming rendition of the Dartmoor theme. This in turn is followed by alterations between the Narracotts theme, the Dartmoor theme, the Dartmoor Drive and Joey’s Antics. This is until the bonding theme takes over at 5:27 on its noble horns. You then hear the melancholic rendition of the Dartmoor theme at 6:16. The suite ends with the stunning flute solos that opened the score in the first place. This is a fantastic summary of the score’s delightful main ideas.
If one were to pick out the top 5 highlights, one list might be:
Muse on these:
– Dartmoor, 1912
– No Man’s Land
– The Reunion
– Remembering Emilie, and Finale
*Check out the final suite, Homecoming, as well*
The massive proportion of the thematic integrity is quite impressive but it unfortunately leads this review to cover the work’s flaw and really this is no fault of the composer. Some might be disappointed at the abandonment of most of the major themes by the 2nd act. As mentioned before, the film covers 3 main phases; bonding, the war and the reunion. It does not make any sense whatsoever to play out the Dartmoor theme or the nature theme at the chaotic horrors of World War I. Part of the problem may be that Williams might have composed too many themes. He composed a great set of very memorable themes, but due to the many specific ideas, characters and concepts represented musically, there is no singular theme that dominates the work. Yes, one could argue that the bonding theme is the main theme of the film, but there are just so many excellent themes that while listening to the album, one will inevitably find themselves divided amongst the acts and going to their favourite themes more often than not. Perhaps a solution may be a better album presentation or a more complete release so that the progression and the thematic developments don’t seem as abrupt in between the different acts of the film. Moreover, the action material on the album may surprise fans. This is not the fanfaric music that we’re all usually accustomed. Its much more like what fans have heard in Born on the Fourth of July and JFK. The music is cold, austere and more tragic to reflect the horrors of war. Also, the 2nd half of No Man’s Land produces interesting material that sounds unlike Williams’ normal action style. Regardless, it is a fantastic cue that competes to be one of the best action pieces of the year.
To sum it up, Williams has really outdone himself here. This amazing score is arguably one of his best in recent years. It’s been an incredibly long time since we’ve witnessed this lyricism and melodious beauty. And it’s not the kind of sound you would ever hear in the modern average film score. Williams took his old sounds and turned them around so creatively, the result is simply intoxicating! The lack of a dominant theme (despite the strong memorability of all of them) may create a less enjoyable listening experience but really the pros are simply too good to beat. From the stunning flute solos, the gorgeous string passages along with the noble trumpets; this score cannot fail to impress. However, due to the lack of a main theme, it is advised that listeners give this more than one listen. There are, of course, many people who will be blown away at the first listen (yes, I would be one of them), but you don’t really learn to appreciate the score until you hear the great development of the music. It is music that matures throughout different worlds and Williams does an amazing job rendering the story musically. The amount of dissonance in the score may be deterring to some listeners (despite their necessity), but there is too much good to this wonder to complain about such. Just when people thought he couldn’t beat Tintin, he just did. This is an amazing score and a testament to the brilliance of the maestro. Definitely the best score of 2011 so far!
Rating: * * * * *