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A Beautiful Mind
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, Co-Orchestrated, and Co-Produced by:

Vocals by:
Charlotte Church

Co-Orchestrated by:
Randy Kerber

Co-Produced by:
Simon Rhodes
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Decca Records
(December 11th, 2001)
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Regular U.S. release.
Nominated for an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a Golden Globe.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you have always had a soft spot for James Horner's "dancing key-shifting motif on piano," an idea that flourishes with Charlotte Church's voice and calculated brilliance in this incarnation.

Avoid it... if you demand to hear any idea in A Beautiful Mind that hadn't already been explored by Horner in the past, despite the fact that this score repackages those ideas into a superior form.
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WRITTEN 12/7/01, REVISED 1/4/09
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A Beautiful Mind: (James Horner) The darling of Academy voters in the holiday season of 2001, A Beautiful Mind is loosely based on Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash, Jr. and his battle with schizophrenia. Director Ron Howard's fascination with telling human tales against a historical backdrop hit the jackpot with this film, praised across the board for its intelligent script (despite, as in Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon, taking some dramatic liberties with facts) and its engrossing acting performances. The film is mostly a love story, using Nash's disease, his brilliance at mathematics, and his code breaking for the government as obstacles to his relationship with his wife, and, for that reason alone, A Beautiful Mind's appeal is universal. Another aspect of the film's success was James Horner's score. The composer's collaborations with Howard have inspired some of his most powerful music, and A Beautiful Mind stands alongside those strong works despite its inherent problems relating to Horner's methodology. Criticism over the composer's borrowing of motifs from classical composers, overshadowed by his own repetition of ideas from previous works, had come to the forefront of discussions about him in 2001, due largely to his extremely derivative score for Enemy at the Gates earlier in the year. Regardless of this ongoing problem, Horner had positioned himself well going into the awards season of 2001; while Windtalkers had been delayed due to the 9/11 attacks, he still offered music for A Beautiful Mind and Iris that appealed to arthouse crowds. Contributing to his success in this area was his choice to emulate John Williams' tactic of employing a famed soloist for his works, featuring a standout voice or instrument with which the composers were attempting to give their recordings a unique edge. For Iris, it is acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell (whose work for John Corigliano on The Red Violin garnered award recognition) who set the tone. For A Beautiful Mind, which hit the stores on album a month before Iris, Horner chose the haunting voice of then 15-year-old opera phenomenon Charlotte Church.

Inviting noteworthy guest performers had been the highlight of Williams' 1990's maturation, but Horner's continuously strengthening reputation in theatres and music stores by 2000 had thrown him the same consistent opportunities to draw top of the line talent to compliment his works. Intriguingly, Horner's movement towards such solo emphasis per score would throw a glass of cold water in the face of the negative critics of Horner's consistency in instrumentation and thematic verse, despite the fact that the underlying constructs were still distinctly from his own style. The use of Church's name and voice in A Beautiful Mind is handled in a far more professional fashion than the highly debated, concurrent use of new age artist Enya in Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The appearance of Enya in the other score came across to many fans as a publicity stunt, as it should, because her voice was used for only a sliver of the The Lord of the Rings score (and even then it was inserted with an easily identifiable break between Shore's and Enya's recordings). This is not the case with Church for A Beautiful Mind. While the packaging for the score's album emphasized Church's lovely, though short song on the product, her voice carries several sections of underscore with its haunting and ageless qualities. One of the attractions of that voice is that it leaves you wondering, because of its tone, if you are listening to a child or an adult. That exact combination of innocence and mature vocal development contributed to wild excitement over her initial albums, and in A Beautiful Mind, that inflection functions beyond all expectations. Interestingly, that timeless quality of her performances works stunningly well when she performs without lyrics, especially in relation to the addressing of Nash's child-like innocence in the softer side of his personality. Her appearances in the underscore are limited to a handful of tracks, but the excellent mixing of her heartfelt tone sets an otherwise typical Horner score apart from his other string-heavy, melodic efforts of the era. She unselfishly blends into the massively-conceived orchestral performances as merely one fluid element, ultimately making the vocal presence in A Beautiful Mind a more poignant subtlety than uses of the female vocals in more pop-oriented scores.

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Average: 3.78 Stars
***** 1,630 5 Stars
**** 1,202 4 Stars
*** 803 3 Stars
** 388 2 Stars
* 335 1 Stars
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Derek Tersmette - July 22, 2006, at 3:42 a.m.
2 comments  (3821 views)
Newest: April 9, 2007, at 5:31 p.m. by
Kevin Smith
Emotional Plantation
Trevor Jensen - July 3, 2006, at 3:13 p.m.
1 comment  (1890 views)
This soundtrack is relaxing and has great effect on your emotions
Sheridan - July 3, 2006, at 6:40 a.m.
1 comment  (1833 views)
Theme Music   Expand >>
Andrew - December 14, 2005, at 8:55 a.m.
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A Beautiful Mind Track 0   Expand >>
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question   Expand >>
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 74:31
• 1. A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics (4:55)
• 2. Playing a Game of "GO!" (3:34)
• 3. Looking for the Next Great Idea (3:02)
• 4. Creating "Governing Dynamics" (2:33)
• 5. Cracking the Russian Codes (3:22)
• 6. Nash Descends into Parcher's World (4:39)
• 7. First Drop-Off, First Kiss (5:15)
• 8. The Car Chase (2:24)
• 9. Alicia Discovers Nash's Dark World (8:29)
• 10. Real or Imagined? (5:47)
• 11. Of One Heart, Of One Mind (6:21)
• 12. Saying Goodbye to Those You So Love (6:43)
• 13. Teaching Mathematics Again (3:16)
• 14. The Prize of One's Life... The Prize of One's Mind (3:02)
• 15. All Love Can Be - performed by Charlotte Church (3:17)
• 16. Closing Credits (4:48)

Notes Icon
The insert contains no extra information about the film or score, but the CD is an auto-loading enhanced product with textual and video interviews with Horner (who appeared to have gained both some weight and a scruffy beard) and Ron Howard, along with pictures from the film and a trailer.
Copyright © 2001-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from A Beautiful Mind are Copyright © 2001, Decca Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/7/01 and last updated 1/4/09.
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