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The Da Vinci Code
Album Cover Art
Composed, Arranged, and Co-Produced by:

Conducted by:
Richard Harvey
Nick Glennie-Smith

Co-Produced by:
Mark Wherry
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(May 9th, 2006)
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Regular U.S. release.
Nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you appreciate Hans Zimmer's very consistent styles for the usage of choir, strings and synthesizer.

Avoid it... if you'd rather hear music for the sacred feminine that doesn't sound like Crimson Tide and Batman Begins.
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WRITTEN 5/5/06
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The Da Vinci Code: (Hans Zimmer) Oh pious Vatican and thy minions of religious dupery, why art thou so dumb? One would think that after centuries of repelling attacks from evil non-believers, the Vatican would have learned by now that announcing a boycott on a book or a film simply blesses the target with free publicity and even greater riches. But right on cue, the word has come from the highest echelons of the center of Christian holiness that the new film adaptation of Dan Brown's extraordinarily popular novel The Da Vinci Code is not quite as holy as desired. In fact, it's downright blasphemous, and why not? Brown's interpretation of religious history takes speculation about Jesus contrary to Christian conversion tactics of the past 1,700 years and arranges those challenging ideas into a fine murder mystery. Brown succeeded in conveying the intricate complexities of religious theory and history to the masses by disguising it as a phenomenally engaging chase story, and Ron Howard's much anticipated film version of the story is expected to win enormous earnings at the box office and stand well-positioned during the next awards season. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the book is Brown's ability to weave so many complexities of religious history into the story while making the "gotcha" parts accessible to almost any reader. Many novels spin a web of such layers and hope that the reader can decipher half of them by the end. Whether or not your faith can stomach the proposals in The Da Vinci Code depends on how open-minded you are, but even the most vocal critics of the facts (or pseudo-facts) in the story can recognize Brown's masterful ingenuity in arranging them in brilliant fashion. So brilliant, not coincidentally, that he won in a court of law when sued by rival authors over the underlying premise of the history in the tale. Composing the music for Howard's 2006 film would require an equal level of intelligence in writing, and Hans Zimmer toiled considerably with this assignment. After such successful collaborations with James Horner and Thomas Newman over his acclaimed career, Howard reached back to his Backdraft collaborator for this challenge. For Backdraft, Zimmer had created an enduring musical identity for the masculine world of urban firefighting, and few of his scores have fit their films so well.

By the indications in the credits for the score, it would seem that Hans Zimmer has tackled The Da Vinci Code much on his own, a rarity these days for the composer, though it's likely that one of the dozen assistants from previous efforts contributed ideas to the process. The result of his efforts is a score easily recognizable as a Zimmer effort, employing many of the same classically-inspired, overly dramatic chord progressions familiar to his previous dramas. His instrumentation is conservative in its employment as well, utilizing a symphony seemingly short on brass, but aided by his trademark synthesizers and a significant choral presence. In an extension on the melodramatic results heard in his effective Hannibal score, Zimmer injects The Da Vinci Code with a heavy dose of majesty and power. Especially in the latter half of the score, crescendos of magnificence rarely heard in Zimmer's career rattle the walls with harmonic resonance. The best of these moments of awe should be credited to the chorus, which exists in both the higher ethereal female ranges and the deep chanting male depths that resurrect the broad scope of Crimson Tide. Zimmer's thematic development is subtle at every turn, never pronouncing its presents in obvious fashion despite Zimmer's loyalty to it throughout the score. The most enjoyable performances of theme easily exist at the opening and closing of the album; as a title theme of sorts, the primary idea is extended with fantastic results in the discovery cue, "Chevaliers de Sangreal," with Zimmer's concert piece for The Da Vinci Code expanding the theme into a churning string, choir, and synthesizer piece in a performance among the best four minutes of the composer's career. A secondary theme introduces itself with weighty string performances in "Fructus Gravis" and pours on the religious chord progressions without hesitation in that and "Daniel's 9th Cipher," where a solo woodwind is dominated by the same strings. A third thematic idea is delicately performed in solo piano and music box tones at the outset of "The Citrine Cross" and in the middle of "Rose of Arimathea." Whether these themes and motifs represent the different locations, characters, or the three distinct storylines that eventually merge that the story's end remains unknown.

There is magic to be heard in Zimmer's score for The Da Vinci Code, with individual moments of beauty that make the album worth every penny. Most of these cues incorporate the choir, with the ensemble joined by solo female voice (for the concept of the sacred feminine, let's hope!) with haunting effect in "Poisoned Chalice" and "Rose of Arimathea." The story has its fair share of majestic moments of discovery (so that's where it is... yeah!), and Zimmer responds with some very simple, but gratifying blasts of male and female voices in simplistic tonal progressions. He handles the moments of horror (religious assassinations.... yeah!) or outright suspense (religious executioners chasing innocent civilians.... yeah!) with either sudden liturgical explosions from the choir, as heard during the gruesome discovery in the latter half of "Dies Mercurii I Martius," a droning crescendo of reverberating bass as in "The Paschal Spiral," or the frenetic string scherzo in latter half of "Fructus Gravis." An extension of this wild string piece highlights the action cue "Beneath Alrischa." One of the more interesting overall aspects of Zimmer's score, however, is its restrained tempos from start to finish. The composition progresses very slowly, consistently returning to its respectfully restrained pacing after each charge of action or suspense. Related to that curiously deliberate movement is the lack of substantial tension in the work; for a story with killings, constant chases, and heightened intellectual passion, Zimmer's work seems oddly directed towards only the overarching discovery in the story. This quest for religious enlightenment is nailed for the most part by Zimmer, but the ride he takes you on for the duration of the album is far less exciting the story of The Da Vinci Code itself. But in and of itself, the music for the film will be a delightful reprise of the bone-chilling moments from Hannibal, a score that has significant influence on individual cues in The Da Vinci Code. A few minutes into "The Citrine Cross," a descending choral and string motif introduced in Hannibal is heard here, but obviously without Anthony Hopkins' voice-overs. The motif reaches a crescendo in "The Citrine Cross" that almost resembles a high range distortion of the female voices in the choir.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.08 Stars
***** 1,136 5 Stars
**** 928 4 Stars
*** 1,327 3 Stars
** 1,129 2 Stars
* 817 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
Great soundtrack, poorly used
Simon J. - July 19, 2012, at 2:48 a.m.
1 comment  (1393 views)
Complete Film Score?
Parker1 - June 17, 2009, at 12:47 p.m.
1 comment  (2178 views)
bloody brilliant score
ic814 - December 26, 2008, at 11:01 p.m.
1 comment  (2030 views)
Music on TDVC website
Jay - October 12, 2007, at 2:41 a.m.
1 comment  (2076 views)
Zimmer speaks about this review
FilmScoreFan - May 14, 2007, at 12:24 a.m.
1 comment  (2582 views)
Help please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
Melle - February 21, 2007, at 5:27 p.m.
1 comment  (1757 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 68:03
• 1. Dies Mercurii I Martius (6:03)
• 2. L'Esprit des Gabriel (2:48)
• 3. The Paschal Spiral (2:49)
• 4. Fructus Gravis (2:50)
• 5. Quodis Arcana (6:07)
• 6. Malleus Maleficarum (2:19)
• 7. Salvete Virgines* (3:14)
• 8. Daniel's 9th Cipher (9:31)
• 9. Poisoned Chalice (6:19)
• 10. The Citrine Cross (5:22)
• 11. Rose of Arimathea (8:12)
• 12. Beneath Alrischa (4:23)
• 13. CheValiers de Sangreal (4:07)
• 14. Kyrie for the Magdalene - written by Richard Harvey (3:55)
* not contained in film

Notes Icon
The insert includes a note from director Ron Howard about the score.
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Da Vinci Code are Copyright © 2006, Decca/Universal and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/5/06 (and not updated significantly since).
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