The Village

Original Score

Hollywood Records, 2004

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


As much as I don't really listen to soundtracks like I should -- something a publicist friend of mine will vouch for, given my "to be reviewed" stack from her -- I've noticed this year that many of the discs I've listened to have music strong enough to stand on their own without the aid of the film they're supposed to go with. Now, a listener can go into a CD without feeling guilty that they haven't seen the corresponding movie.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In the case of The Village, I'm led to understand I haven't missed much by not seeing the movie. Yet James Newton Howard has composed a score which is hauntingly beautiful, if not a bit scarce, and stands well on its own.

The overall theme of the music is what I would call pseudo-classical -- that is, orchestral instrumentation with a classical bend to the playing, yet not strictly classical-type music. Confused yet? Don't be -- one listen to the music on this disc (a surprisingly short listen, clocking in at around 43 minutes) puts it all in perspective.

Working with the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and utilizing the talents of violinist Hilary Hahn, Howard paints a dark yet beautiful portrait through his composition and arrangements, almost soothing the listener yet keeping them slightly on their toes for danger around the corner. You get that feeling with the opening track "Noah Visits," and it is most obvious in selections like "The Bad Color."

If there is a fatal flaw to The Village, it is that there is almost too relaxed of a feel to this soundtrack. Maybe the overall volume of the performances needed to be boosted to keep the listener's attention. Maybe the soundtrack didn't need to end on a gentle note with "The Shed Not To Be Used" -- honestly, I was expecting something a little more powerful to close things out.

The Village is the kind of soundtrack one can have on in the background while you work, gently easing your mind into your labors while subtly suggesting that evil is lurking below your desk. (No, wait, that's a ham sandwich I dropped down there last week.) Howard does an admirable job with this score, and is enjoyable without the benefit of having seen the corresponding film.

Rating: B-

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© 2004 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hollywood Records, and is used for informational purposes only.