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Children of Dune
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Lyrics, World Percussion, and Produced by:
Brian Tyler

Conducted by:
Adam Klemens

Orchestrated by:
Robert Elhai
Dana Niu

Performed by:
The Czech Philharmonic

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
March 18th, 2003

Also See:
Dune (2000 - TV)
Dune (1984)

Audio Clips:
3. Main Title (House Atreides) (0:32):
WMA (209K)  MP3 (259K)
Real Audio (161K)

8. Inama Nushif (Montage) (0:35):
WMA (227K)  MP3 (282K)
Real Audio (175K)

18. The Jihad (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

27. Sign of the Bene Gesserit (0:28):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (226K)
Real Audio (140K)

Regular U.S. release. The album sold out immediately upon its release, causing some initial difficulty finding it at online or street stores.


Children of Dune
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Buy it... if you seek music that stands amongst the best that the television medium has ever inspired, an excellent, charged, ethnic, and vocal score of immense size and thematic beauty.

Avoid it... if you are a curmudgeon with a stick up your rear about scores that don't employ an original foundation, no matter how well executed those ideas may be.

Frank Herbert's Children of Dune: (Brian Tyler) Until 2003, only the first of Frank Herbert's six "Dune" novels had been translated onto the big or small screen. In 1984, David Lynch's deranged, epic portrayal of the first novel was met with confusion and negative criticism, though its quirky special effects, rock-style score, and fantastic international cast catapulted it to eternal cult status. In 2000, the Sci-Fi Channel in America offered its own adaptation of the first "Dune" novel and was wildly successful due to its spectacular cinematography and art direction, though it suffered from widespread criticism over the plastic expressions of its two main actors. When the Sci-Fi Channel, in association with three studios (including Hallmark Entertainment), decided to continue the "Dune" adaptations using much of the same cast as its 2000 film (or mini-series, as they're typically called), they decided to tackle the next two "Dune" books at once, taking the name of the third for the entire 2003 production. It is no secret that the stories of these two books retain the same melodramatic scope as the first, but with a considerably higher amount of death and other tragic maladies. With only three hours to cover the events of two books that could probably occupy 20 hours of screen time if adapted in full, the "Frank Herbert's Children of Dune" story seen on the Sci-Fi Channel basically hits all of the most dramatic plot notes and neglects some of the subtle, finer moments of the books. One could argue with Herbert's sense of parallelism, leading to the repeating question, "why does so-and-so have to die?" but that's another debate for another time. With an even more accomplished supporting cast and improved visual effects, "Children of Dune" was an even greater extravaganza for the Sci-Fi Channel. Popular as well through the years has been the music from previous "Dune" productions. The unconventional 1984 score by Toto remains a "love it or hate" form of cult classic, much like the film itself, succeeding well in multiple album forms. Graeme Revell's underachieving 2000 entry for the previous television production was not particularly memorable, but it did serve as a souvenir for the widespread fan base for the concept.

Generally speaking, the broad reach of all of these stories meant that the music for them would have to consist of significantly expansive scope and a certain dose of orchestral force. More than most other concepts, "Dune" snugly fits the mould of science fiction in its most operatic form, demanding music that must contend with the cliches of the grandest fantasy soundtracks without becoming too cozy with them. The 1984 Toto score struck all the right chords (usually on electric guitars) with fans of the more epic and bizarre aspects of the Herbert novels. Revell's 2000 score for the first Sci-Fi picture concentrated solely on the ethnicity of Arrakis (the famed desert planet), which is something that Toto had completely overlooked. On the other hand, Revell's music was totally ineffective at conveying the massive scope of the galactic events that Herbert had in mind. Relative newcomer Brian Tyler received the job of scoring "Children of Dune" because of a previous collaboration with the film's director, Greg Yaitanes. The composer's young career had already consisted of several smaller scale, mostly horror-related projects, and the immense popularity of his work for "Children of Dune" would help catapult him on to a major film scoring career that, throughout the remainder of the decade, included many high profile productions. For the 2003 mini-series, Tyler was given instructions regarding the basic structure of the music that the producers had in mind: orchestral, ancient, vocal, and a distinct departure from Revell's previous approach. He was allowed only six weeks to accomplish this task, and he did this by recording parts of the score in the Czech Republic and others back in Seattle. While he did not personally conduct the sessions with the 95-member Czech Philharmonic, he did so remotely through a video monitor. He later added several Middle-Eastern elements and instruments uniquely of his own creation, as well as female and male vocals (the latter performed himself). Tyler's ability to handle many worldly instruments on his own is not only impressive, but it also a cost-cutting and time saving ability. His final production included 174 cues, and many of these featuring vocals or ethnic string instruments that he contributed with his own talents.

The result of Tyler's efforts for "Children of Dune" is a score that perfectly fits Frank Herbert's imagery, ethnic locations, religious implications, and space-age technology. Few scores "click" as well as this one, and he finished the work in such quick time that the Sci-Fi channel was even able to use the centerpiece cue in their television previews for the show, heightening expectations in potential audiences. He offers a clean and memorable identity for the concept by establishing several key themes for the major players in the stories: the Fremen, House Atreides, the story's central romance, and the true Messiah. The propulsive theme for the Fremen is frantically paced and whips its brass at speeds worthy of a sandstorm. On the surface, it is a theme that film music fans will find similar to that from Trevor Rabin's much imitated Deep Blue Sea, though its rapid fire brass notes at its climax are more reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith from the days of Capricorn One. It is performed in full during their scenes of battle and the end credits sequences of the first two parts of the three-part mini-series. On album, it opens the score with gusto in "Summon the Worms" and flourishes in the cue "The Jihad." It is present in several key, less obvious cues as well, including many of the important ethnic moments of conversational material. The duduk performs this theme beautifully in "Dune Messiah" (accompanied by female voice) and the fateful scene during which Chani recognizes that "I Have Only Now." The use of the Armenian flute is as gorgeous in this score as in any you will ever hear, exclaiming its somber tones with an enhanced volume that assists it in transcending into a more accessible realm of beauty. The House Atreides theme opens the first two of the three episodes and is heard during the magnificent aerial shots of the capital, Arrakeen. Introduced on album in "Main Title (House Atreides)," it is a noble and ambitious melody that sees little screen time in its original form because the control of House Atreides is in the process of falling apart not long after the story begins. A good example of this degeneration exists in the "Revolution" cue, which exudes the feeling of Alia's slow loss of reality and thus her loss of control over her empire.

An even more eloquent and dignified offspring of the House Atreides theme is provided for Lady Jessica, conveyed when she both descends and departs from Arrakis. Both of these cues are presented in full on the album, including the lovely "The Arrival of Lady Jessica." Easily the most fluidly romantic of the themes for "Children of Dune," this idea merges the sensibilities of both Jerry Goldsmith and John Barry in their most melodramatic forms. The third major theme that Tyler presents in the score is the one of romance between Paul and Chani. Even though the bulk of its performances in the score are mostly limited to the second half of the show (especially compared to the other major themes), it represents the highlight of Tyler's effort and was likened at the time to the popular revolution caused by Lisa Gerrard with the Gladiator finale sequence. It appears during the otherwise silent montage while Chani is giving birth to Leto II and Ghanima in one location and Alia is prosecuting the execution of Atreides' enemies in another, including the Bene Gesserit witch from the previous Emperor's throne. The cue is effective because it represents the most powerful moment of the narrative without any interference from other sounds, a technique used to accentuate scenes in concepts ranging from The Godfather to The Lord of the Rings. The comparisons between this cue and Gladiator are not just limited in reason to the style of non-English vocals and lightly tingling percussive effects over a synthetically-aided, harmonic bass, but also in the rising structure of the piece that, like its predecessor, gives it an extremely inspirational and optimistic personality. A version without the vocals and featuring a stronger percussion mix in the farewell scene at the end of the series ("Farewell" on album) has even been heard adapted by mega-churches for their pop-oriented calls out to their savior with their own typically sappy and ridiculous lyrics (let's hope that Tyler is receiving royalties for this usage, for the irony inherent in these churches' use of a song written for Herbert novel is not alone enough compensation). This haunting piece of music was alone responsible for all the hype you heard about this score at its debut, and "Inama Nushif" was the same four-minute piece of music that you heard in the show's previews.

While some jaded listeners have blasted the love theme in "Inama Nushif" as either unoriginal or at least playing far too heavily on the kind of cliches that appeal to hopeless fangirls, you can't help but admire how well Tyler executes the idea. He painstakingly sifted through the Herbert novels to gain enough knowledge about the Fremen language (which Herbert created himself) to write the rhyming lyrics for that montage (a technique perhaps inspired by Howard Shore). The final theme that Tyler creates for "Children of Dune" is a hybrid of the above-mentioned love theme and a more percussive and guitar oriented one for Leto II, the true Messiah. Early in Leto's appearances, Tyler's House Atreides theme accompanies his character, but by the end of the film, as Leto has merged with the worms (doesn't this guy wear a shirt ever again?), he and Ganima are the product of the romance between Paul (of the Atreides) and Chani (of the Fremen) and the combined theme thus becomes theirs. The evolution is logical and keenly developed by Tyler throughout the work. The scenes of Leto in the desert during the final hour of the show are heavy on the percussive rhythms that relate to this theme. Leto's abandonment of safety justifies the loss of that orchestral organization and the introduction of wilder acoustic guitar rhythms, though this late music doesn't cross over onto album as effectively and becomes the product's only weakness. In the context of the series, Tyler's music follows a steady progression from the pompous and grandiose orchestral music for the Empire at the start of the narrative to a more ethnically sensitive and internalized sound as the last original remnants of House Atreides die off or leave the planet. The worms themselves don't have the same effect on the score as they did with the title theme of Toto's 1984 score, perhaps due in part to less screen time for the worms in these books. Still, Tyler's ability to establish identities for each of the major players in this score and revisit them (and in some cases adapt and mature them) is extremely satisfying, not only in the statements of outward melody but also in the specific applications of the duduk, varied percussion, solo voices, and other unique specialty sounds. An engaging performance from the orchestra is also key to giving invaluable vibrance to the massive ensemble statements early in the series. Both styles would inspire Tyler's forthcoming work for Partition and Timeline, respectively.

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One creative aspect of Tyler's score that requires special notice is his tip of the hat when various scenes in "Children of Dune" discuss the topic of events that occurred in the first novel, and especially in scenes involving Paul. Here, Tyler inserts progressions in his deep bass string performances that remind strongly of Toto's title theme for Dune. While this similarity could possibly be coincidental given how common the usage of ascending minor thirds can be in such situations, it's hard to believe that Tyler (who has shown the ability to reference previous franchise themes and styles in subsequent works) didn't insert these ideas with specific referential intent in cues like "Dune Messiah" and "Sign of the Bene Gesserit." As mentioned before, Tyler's music also seems to take a few cues from other established composers; the Lady Jessica theme, especially as she arrives on Arrakis, is an interesting meld of themes from Goldsmith's Hoosiers and John Barry's Cry, the Beloved Country. The Middle-Eastern elements, centered around the duduk, are very similar to the tone often employed by the master of such music, Mychael Danna. This probably wasn't intentional on Tyler's part, but it shows the kind of influences from which he was working. On the lengthy album release, 36 of his 174 cues are presented, largely out of order but in a good sequence for listening. All pertinent cues of significant length in the film are included, spanning most of the styles and themes equally. The elegant themes for the full ensemble are presented at the front, with more of Leto's guitar and percussion music presented in the latter half. The product was an overwhelming success for Varèse Sarabande, so much so that the label's original pressing of the CD sold out within a week after the show's first airing. And there was good reason for this success; Tyler's music is among the best television scores to hit the air waves in the history of the medium, better even than Lee Holdridge's "The Mists of Avalon" a few years before (another album that kept Varèse on solid financial footing). No matter your knowledge about Frank Herbert and the Dune universe, "Children of Dune" is a diverse powerhouse that all film music fans should appreciate. It's a superb example of a case in which outstanding execution compensates for structural and textural concepts that may not be original. As the decade concludes, it remains Tyler's crowning achievement. ***** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Brian Tyler reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.28 (in 26 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.06 (in 13,569 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 4.22 Stars
Smart Average: 3.93 Stars*
***** 3905 
**** 1272 
*** 645 
** 378 
* 341 
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    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: The music is great,but I have a problem...
  Sheridan -- 7/3/06 (6:51 a.m.)
   The music is great,but I have a problem wit...
  sheridan -- 6/13/06 (4:32 a.m.)
   Re: Download the entire score here, free of...
  JMG -- 8/29/05 (3:11 p.m.)
   Inama Nushif lyrics
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 77:22

• 1. Summon the Worms (3:49)
• 2. Dune Messiah (2:40)
• 3. Main Title (House Atreides) (1:36)
• 4. The Revolution (2:01)
• 5. Fear is the Mind Killer (2:45)
• 6. The Arrival of Lady Jessica (3:09)
• 7. Leto Atreides II (2:44)
• 8. Inama Nushif (Montage) (3:52)
• 9. War Begins (1:08)
• 10. Battle of Naraj (3:15)
• 11. Rya Wolves (1:34)
• 12. I Have Only Now (3:12)
• 13. The Impossible Wager (3:00)
• 14. Face Dancer (1:03)
• 15. The Throne of Alia (1:20)
• 16. Trap the Worm (3:03)
• 17. Salusus Secundus (1:04)
• 18. The Jihad (2:03)
• 19. The Ring of Paul (3:50)
• 20. Exiles (1:28)
• 21. Sins of the Mother (1:24)
• 22. Irulan's Regret* (1:11)
• 23. My Skin is Not My Own** (1:23)
• 24. Reunited (2:28)
• 25. The Golden Path (2:10)
• 26. Child Emperor (1:18)
• 27. Sign of the Bene Gesserit (2:08)
• 28. The Preacher at Arrakeen (2:33)
• 29. The Desert Journey (1:36)
• 30. The Ghola Duncan (1:37)
• 31. Leto and Ghanima (1:16)
• 32. The Fremen Qizarate (1:43)
• 33. Farewell (3:25)
• 34. Children of Dune (1:16)
• 35. Horizon (1:34)
• 36. End Title (1:30)

* typo in title on album's packaging
** incorrect time listed on packaging

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a note from the director regarding Tyler's speedy efforts in assembling the score. Otherwise, the packaging is sparse and the credits are only partial.

  All artwork and sound clips from Children of Dune are Copyright © 2003, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/17/03 and last updated 3/10/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.