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For Greater Glory (Cristiada)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:

Co-Orchestrated by:
J.A.C. Redford
Randy Kerber
Jon Kull

Co-Produced by:
Simon Rhodes

Notable Solo Performances by:
Clara Sanabras
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Varèse Sarabande
(October 2nd, 2012)
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Regular U.S. release.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you seek to supplement your James Horner collection with more of his predictable historical drama mode, this time highlighted by distinctive female vocal solos of gorgeous lament.

Avoid it... if the last thing you need is yet another chapter in a continuing nightmare of Horner self-referencing that is worthy of ridicule for its fundamental stagnation of substance.
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WRITTEN 9/16/12
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For Greater Glory (Cristiada): (James Horner) While Mexico's dominant Catholicism is accepted by today's society as a basic facet of that country's society, relatively few realize that the Christians of Mexico fought in a popular uprising during the 1920's to preserve their faith. An atheistic Mexican president acted upon anti-Catholic provisions in the 1917 Mexican Constitution to quell the influence of the Church in Mexico, his armed forces killing Catholic officials and destroying churches at will. In 1927, a rebellion of the people resulted, with nearly 100,000 killed in the resulting war. A peace brokered in part by Americans brought the conflict to an official end in 1929, but rural persecution continued throughout the 1930's. The 2012 film Cristiada, shot in English and recognized instead as For Greater Glory internationally, dramatized several individual stories against the backdrop of the conflict to teach about its events through an unambiguously pro-Catholic lens. The directorial debut of special effects master Dean Wright, For Greater Glory is inspired by Jean Meyer's 1976 book "The Cristero Rebellion" and took three years to produce in Mexico, luring a few international stars in the process (including Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, and Peter O'Toole). The narrative follows several rebels in their efforts to fight federal forces, most of them meeting unfortunate ends. The movie received only mixed reviews, partly because of its rather overwhelming Catholicism for some (one reviewer twisted this focus into a positive by suggesting the film as a potential antidote for American President Barack Obama's "anti-religious" efforts regarding contraception in 2012), and it failed to recoup its budget despite performing well in Mexico upon its debut. For composer James Horner, the project represented yet another opportunity to write music for an obscure docudrama, a habit of his personal choice since shunning most blockbuster movie opportunities in the 2000's. His music for projects such as Black Gold and For Greater Glory offer lushly romanticized London recordings to these historical ethnic struggles, likely representing a fair portion of the production budgets for their respective films. Horner's stylistic approach to these occasions isn't radically different from his normal output; in fact, they tend to recycle from his previous scores more often than not. Still, it remains a pleasure to hear one of the industry's "old guard" composers expanding upon the sound of orchestral traditions in this day and age.

As applicable to most Horner scores since the 1990's, there is a sense of familiarity to his work that will guide nearly all opinions about it. No exception is For Greater Glory, which churns through countless Horner techniques and motifs from the past thirty years without shame or restraint. Remarkably little in this work is fresh, and even those portions that are seem reminiscent of other composers' achievements. To a Horner detractor, For Greater Glory is yet another chapter in a continuing nightmare worthy of ridicule for its fundamental stagnation of substance. Conversely, those who appreciate the composer's lush romanticism and propulsive action styles will find the score a very worthy addition to their Horner collections. All will recognize the players involved. The full London orchestra is accented by the composer's typical exotic woodwinds and, in this case, the acoustic guitars from his "Zorro" scores. Chimes denote both the bells of Catholic churches when tolling and his more typical sense of gravity when rolling. Snare drums rip away with Glory in the rearview mirror. The children's ensemble voices have moved away from the cooing of Horner's early days and lightly chant in a Titanic-like processed way. A Paraguayan harp has less of an impact than hoped. The most notable textural element of For Greater Glory is the application of solo voices. In The Amazing Spider-Man shortly following this score, Horner utilized a boy soprano and operatic female with the emphasis on the former; in For Greater Glory, that formula is switched, with two notable boy soprano performances but a plethora of very alluring contributions by Clara Sanabras that dominate score's identity. Her tone is reminiscent of that heard in the concluding "Todavia Cantamos" performance in Shaun Davey's The Tailor of Panama. These performers tackle structures that will recall a wide range of other Horner scores in every part of the work. The three major themes are stock manipulations, one of which obnoxiously identical to a previous score. The battle music in "Ambush," "A Bullet on the Floor," and "Cristeros" remains effective despite their derivative and generic nature. Snippets ranging from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan to Glory, The Mask of Zorro to Avatar, and beyond are littered throughout For Greater Glory. There's even a foreshadowing nod to the main theme of The Amazing Spider-Man at 5:26 into "General Gorostieta." Distracting as these references may be, it's remarkable that For Greater Glory still stands in the end as a satisfying reprise.

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Average: 3.23 Stars
***** 41 5 Stars
**** 60 4 Stars
*** 42 3 Stars
** 35 2 Stars
* 29 1 Stars
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Review at Movie Wave
Southall - December 30, 2012, at 8:55 a.m.
1 comment  (1079 views)
Obama & Filmtracks hate Catholics   Expand >>
Humbolt - September 16, 2012, at 2:18 p.m.
2 comments  (1921 views)
Newest: September 20, 2012, at 12:12 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 78:25
• 1. Entre La Luz y El Pecado (4:09)
• 2. The Death of Padre Christopher (10:10)
• 3. "We're Cristeros Now" (3:23)
• 4. Goro and Tula (4:32)
• 5. General Gorostieta (9:22)
• 6. The Dead City (8:03)
• 7. "Men Will Fire Bullets, But God Decides Where They Land" (4:23)
• 8. Jose Saves Catorce (3:22)
• 9. Ambush (4:49)
• 10. A Bullet on the Floor (3:07)
• 11. Jose's Martyrdom (4:06)
• 12. Death (2:22)
• 13. Cristeros (8:40)
• 14. Just Another Chapter of History (Closing Credits) (8:05)

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The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from For Greater Glory (Cristiada) are Copyright © 2012, Varèse Sarabande and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/16/12 (and not updated significantly since).
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