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Section Header
The Whole Wide World
(1996)
Produced, Orchestrated, Arranged, and Co-Produced by:
Harry Gregson-Williams

Co-Produced by:
Slamm Andrews

Consultation by:
Hans Zimmer

Label:
Mojo Music Inc/Mojotrax

Release Date:
February 5th, 1997

Also See:
Smilla's Sense of Snow
The Rock

Audio Clips:
1. The Love Theme (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

3. Conan Emerges (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

9. ...Let Go of your Mother (0:28):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (226K)
Real Audio (140K)

10. Novalyne's Theme (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release but completely out of print within a few years. It became very difficult to find thereafter, with copies reportedly selling for as much as $75 in the 2000's.

Awards:
  None.









The Whole Wide World

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Sales Rank: 500865


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Buy it... if you are not bothered by romantic compositions that require strong orchestral performances to take flight but are instead electronically rendered, draining them of nearly all their potential impact.

Avoid it... if you expect to actually hear Hans Zimmer music as advertised or if you prefer a collaboration with Harry Gregson-Williams that produces something as consistent in its flow as Smilla's Sense of Snow.



Gregson-
Williams
Zimmer
The Whole Wide World: (Harry Gregson-Williams) Robert E. Howard was one of the more inspired fantasy writers of a generation, conjuring such famous serial characters as Conan the Barbarian, Kull the Conquerer, and Red Sonja. His youthful, platonic relationship with writer Novalyne Price Ellis is the subject of the story for the 1996 movie The Whole Wide World, with the three-year friendship between writers recalled many decades later by the still-living Ellis. The tumultuous but undeniably sweet relationship between the two was strained if only because Ellis enjoyed writing about naturalistic topics while Howard was obnoxiously stuck in the imaginary land of Conan. Ellis' book of romantic recollection, "One Who Walked Alone," was several years in the translation to the big screen, and while embraced with critical success (especially in response to a strong early performance by actress Renee Zellweger) at the time of its release, The Whole Wide World was actually seen by very few people. Director Dan Ireland asked his friend and collaborator Hans Zimmer to compose the music for film, and although Zimmer accepted the assignment, he introduced Harry Gregson-Williams as the artist would actually compose the music for the film. Gregson-Williams was mainly an arranger who was quickly rising up the ranks of Media Ventures artists (much like Nick Glennie-Smith at the time) and doing much of the ghostwriting duties for Zimmer in the Oscar-winner's early collaborative days. The intriguing aspect of The Whole Wide World is that unlike other Zimmer co-credited projects in which the better known composer writes a theme or a cue or two, Zimmer did nothing for The Whole Wide World. As Gregson-Williams said back at the time of the film's release, "Hans didn't write any music for The Whole Wide World. In fact, he heard my score for the first time at the premiere." Strangely, though, the director emphatically thanks Zimmer for the score and Zimmer's name appears atop the credits for the film and album. For those who claim that the composer's army of assistants can't be referred to as "ghostwriters," the controversy understandably began with The Whole Wide World. Nothing ever came of it, though, likely because of the project's total obscurity. Regardless of its curious production, the resulting music is an early and interesting look at Gregson-Williams' solo talent.

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The influences of Zimmer's styles of that era are clearly evident in Gregson-Williams' work for The Whole Wide World, with pieces of Crimson Tide's action motifs appearing throughout the score. There are essentially three sides to The Whole Wide World: the internal world of each novelist and their combined love theme. That love theme opens and closes the album, with one magnificent performance in "The Telegram." While the theme's melodic construct suggests a sincere heart in the composition, the sparse, synthetic treatment in its performance proves that it is one of those ideas that greatly needed a stronger orchestral presence to convey a genuine heart. A sense of authenticity is missing from much of the score, and despite the restraints naturally existing on a film like this because of its budget, the score does suffer in its attempts to recreate grand thematic statements. The romantic underscore for Ellis runs for lengthy sequences throughout the score, and it is never less than pleasant. In these sequences, you hear woodwinds, pianos, and acoustic guitar accompanied by light strings with a more convincing orchestral result. Contrasting these fluffy cues are the dark side of Howard's imagination, with bass-heavy synthetics and deep mock choruses pounding Conan inelegantly from pen to paper. These cues are unfortunately too spread out and harsh in tone compared to the romance to really satisfy enthusiasts of Zimmer's action influences. The score further feels the effects of its schizophrenia within single cues such as "...Let Go of Your Mother" (which features layers of female and deep male choral vocals) and "Sombrero" (which comes out of nowhere with a short burst of Latin rhythms). At the very end of the album, after a final restatement of the primary theme, a minute of silence is followed by a hidden reprise of "Conan Emerges," with an even wilder violin performance tearing into the previous mood. Despite good intentions and excellent compositions in individual sections of the score, the overall package is lacking in cohesion and orchestral authenticity. Poorly rendered electronics are the true villain here, the emotional impact a casualty of immature synthetic libraries. Be aware that the first printing of the album for The Whole Wide World by Mojo Music and Mojotrax was faulty and would not easily play; these copies often had Zimmer's name misspelled on the front packaging. All versions have since gone out of print and fetch over $40 on the used market. Approach the product with caution, therefore, and be sure to remember that this is not a Zimmer score as advertised. ***   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Harry Gregson-Williams reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 2.97 (in 31 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.02 (in 50,147 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 2.95 Stars
Smart Average: 2.99 Stars*
***** 28 
**** 29 
*** 38 
** 26 
* 33 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Awesome soundtrack
  Armando Sanchez -- 9/5/05 (2:30 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 42:17


• 1. The Love Theme (2:45)
• 2. Two Sides of Bob (6:18)
• 3. Conan Emerges (1:29)
• 4. Novalyne Reflects (2:53)
• 5. The Telegram (5:20)
• 6. A Yarn Unfolds (2:43)
• 7. Letters at Sunset/The Cabin (7:07)
• 8. Bob's Despair (1:41)
• 9. ...Let Go of your Mother (3:34)
• 10. Novalyne's Theme (3:09)
• 11. Sombrero (0:31)
• 12. End Titles (4:42)

(1:12 of total time is silence)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes a note about the score and film from director Dan Ireland.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from The Whole Wide World are Copyright © 1997, Mojo Music Inc/Mojotrax. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com 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 7/17/04 and last updated 9/29/11. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1997-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.