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The New World
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
James Horner

Co-Orchestrated by:
Jon Kull

Co-Produced by:
Simon Rhodes

New Line Records

Release Date:
January 24th, 2006

Also See:
The Spitfire Grill
A Beautiful Mind
Beyond Borders
The Thin Red Line

Audio Clips:
1. The New World (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

10. Winter/Battle (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

12. A Dark Cloud is Forever Lifted (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

13. Listen to the Wind (0:35):
WMA (227K)  MP3 (284K)
Real Audio (199K)

Regular U.S. release. The Wagner and Mozart excerpts replacing Horner's score in the film are readily available on other albums.


The New World

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Buy it... if you appreciate the misty atmosphere of rolling piano, tingling percussion, distant woodwinds, and light strings in James Horner's The Spitfire Grill.

Avoid it... if Horner's restrained, but still slightly syrupy romance themes, especially with heavy use of synthetic choir, could give you the same rashes you experienced with Titanic... or if you expect to hear the Wagner or Mozart music that replaced Horner's score in the film.

The New World: (James Horner) So long as Hollywood continues to glaze over the facts in the actual history of Pocahontas and John Smith, movies like The New World will baffle and frustrate historians. Director Terrence Malick's fourth feature film since debuting in the early 1970's takes a position a little closer to reality than the Disney animated feature ten years prior, but still misses many of the basics. For instance, the real Pocahontas was only nine years old when the Englishmen arrived, and Smith was a far older, more rotund man than actor Colin Ferrell. In the interest of politically correct marketability, Malick shrugs off many of those inconsistencies and decides to approach the film exactly as you expect him to: from the perspective of nature. Malick's most recent two films have shown humanity as an element of nature rather than vice versa, and The New World is no different. For its two hours, nature is its leading star, and the colonists and natives are explored as awestruck, curious peoples at the mercy of the environment. For his film The Thin Red Line, Malick utilized the broad strokes of Hans Zimmer's capable score, and although Zimmer was expected to rejoin Malick for The New World, blockbuster score veteran James Horner would embark on the challenging and ultimately frustrating journey. Representing Horner's fourth score in the latter half of 2005, The New World would end up a disaster of an ever-changing post-production edit of the film, with the overall length cut from 150 minutes to 130 minutes --reportedly without sacrificing much actual content-- and a significant amount of Horner's original work removed from the picture. Portions of Horner's work were thus replaced by Wagner's "Das Rheingold" and Mozart's "Piano Concerto No.23" in the final product, and all indications point to Malick as the source of discontent.

Horner even uses his notation in the album release to thank the New Line Cinema executive in charge of music for siding with him in the post-production battle, referring to the assignment as an "incomprehensible incoming madness" and laments the "chaos that comes from a perpetually changing film." From all the circumstances put together, Malick seems to have come closer than anyone recently to actually rejecting a Horner score outright from a project. As Horner also states, he stands by his instincts in defending his approach to writing the music for The New World. His resulting effort is a merging of his sweeping themes of his famous epics and the subdued atmospheric magic of his lesser-known gems. On the surface, he seems to have produced the kind of work that would fit Malick's vision of nature perfectly, creating a slightly cautious work saturated with curiosity and fantasy, with a finished recording mixed to a wet wash of tingling, echoing sounds true to such wonderments. To achieve this quiet exploratory enthusiasm, Horner pulls many of the elements from forest scenes in The Spitfire Grill, including the essential piano and string base, and overlays the synthetic choir from Titanic, a dancing triangle, and distant melodic lines from high woodwinds that are meant to accentuate the plentiful samples of chirping birds that also occupy the sonic landscape. While this technique will remind film music collectors of Alan Silvestri's FernGully from the early 1990's, Horner follows these sections of score with the slowly-building momentum of the full ensemble, often leading to respectfully restrained performances of the score's title theme by the string section. Both "The New World" and "Of the Forest" feature this magical atmosphere, though the former cue takes almost four minutes to finally state its title theme without the constant trickling piano movements and chirping birds.

These forest cues are easily the highlights of The New World, joined by "A Dark Cloud is Forever Lifted" at the end, in which the cloud is literally lifted at the five-minute mark. Horner's harmonious lines of distant woodwinds and strings are joined by the ever-elegant rolling piano of Beautiful Mind, though without the outwardly typical chord shifts of that and previous scores. Where Horner's score does stumble slightly is in the development of the secondary theme for Pocahontas, arguably a love theme involving both Smith and Rolfe. Often led by solo piano, the strings and woodwinds in these sections never emerge from the misty environment of the nature-dominated cues, offering a low level of sincerity in their performances. A constant haze exists over nearly every cue in The New World, and while this works wonders for the larger canvas, the intricate personal relationships lack any of the wit and genuine intrigue of the characters. One cue that does benefit strongly from the haze that blows through this score like an elusive ship in the fog is the "Winter/Battle" cue, for which the first part of the cue is set over the harsh, but enticing texture of Horner's electronics and bass string domination heard in parts of Beyond Borders and relating to an approach dating all the way back to The Name of the Rose. The latter half of that cue represents the only action cue on the album, still placing the dramatic drum, percussion, and string hits behind the veil of the overall fog of the score.

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Overall, there are twenty minutes of Horner's melodic and pleasant textures for the almost mystical forest environment that beg for a rearrangement into one fantastic suite. This collection of cues is led, interestingly, by the song adaptation of Horner's title theme at the end of the album. Easily the best song of 2005 in any film, Horner tones down the overbearing romanticism of Titanic and replaces Celine Dion with 17-year-old opera phenom Hayley Westenra, whose elegant performance over the same orchestral and synthetic textures from Horner's underscore are simply exquisite. Detractors of Horner's works will find fault with The New World, however. The theme itself moves with related rhythms and chord progressions as the secondary theme for The Land Before Time (the one also translated into song), and the perhaps the greatest irony of all of Horner's work here is that there exist structural similarities between "Listen to the Wind" and Alan Menken's "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas (aside, of course, from the names of the songs). Also along the way, listeners will note that Horner doesn't entirely attempt to diverge from his established comfort zone when it comes to the chord progressions and rhythms that define much of his work. One thing must be said on Horner's behalf: despite the stylistic consistencies throughout most of his scores, his four efforts of 2005 have all yielded significantly different results from that same palette. Although 2005 will be a year remembered for John Williams' achievements, Horner's contributions in the year are as varied as ever, and the partially-rejected The New World is a strong and surprisingly refreshing entry in the mix. The album squeezes on 80 minutes of Horner's work for listeners to enjoy in the form that the composer had originally intended the music to be heard in the film before Malick's haphazard edits. Be aware that the album does not contain any of the Wagner or Mozart music heard frequently in the film! **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For James Horner reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.13 (in 98 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.19 (in 187,986 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings: Total Time: 79:29

• 1. The New World (5:22)
• 2. First Landing (4:45)
• 3. A Flame Within (4:05)
• 4. An Apparition in the Fields (3:42)
• 5. Journey Upriver (4:16)
• 6. Of the Forest (6:55)
• 7. Pocahontas and Smith (3:41)
• 8. Forbidden Corn (11:01)
• 9. Rolfe Proposes (4:31)
• 10. Winter/Battle (8:28)
• 11. All is Lost (8:14)
• 12. A Dark Cloud is Forever Lifted (9:55)
• 13. Listen to the Wind - performed by Hayley Westenra (4:35)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a note of frustration by Horner about the film's post-production woes.

  All artwork and sound clips from The New World are Copyright © 2006, New Line Records. 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 2/4/06 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2006-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.