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Legends of the Fall
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Thomas Pasatieri
Don Davis

Performed by:
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Epic Soundtrax/Sony Classical
(January 10th, 1995)
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Regular U.S. release.
Nominated for a Golden Globe.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you're looking for the most weighty, tragically melodramatic score in James Horner's career, a masterpiece of thematic beauty and elegance.

Avoid it... if you have no interest in hearing Horner adapt the broad strokes of John Barry's Dances With Wolves into his own templates.
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WRITTEN 9/24/96, REVISED 1/17/08
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Legends of the Fall: (James Horner) The 1994 film Legends of the Fall is for the big screen what romance novels are for old ladies. It is limitless, brute romanticism against the painted skies of Montana, primordial in its appeal and doomed by those who are not swayed by tear-jerking character dramas. If anyone doubted that director Ed Zwick was trying to yank at the emotional chains of audiences with his 1989 stunner Glory, then Legends of the Fall is proof that you can succeed at it not just once, but twice. Heroic and tragic, honorable and sorrowful, Legends of the Fall combines the most potent elements of a British period production with the vast expanses of Big Sky Country. Its cast was remarkably strong, led by a headstrong and painfully humorous performance by Anthony Hopkins as the father of three adult sons split by ideals, ambitions, and one woman. As he had accomplished for Glory, composer James Horner matched Zwick's engrossing melodrama with an unashamed powerhouse of a score, and while the music for Legends of the Fall doesn't quite equal the ethereal qualities of Glory, it comes damn close. The early 1990's were a time of few hits and numerous misses for Horner, scrounging around in the trash bin of video-quality animated films and failed light dramas. With Legends of the Fall came a sudden and overwhelming resurgence that would launch the composer into a year of incredible success in 1995, led by Apollo 13 and Braveheart. These three scores together would yield two Golden Globe nominations and two Academy Awards nominations, and yet none would win either award. Still, these three scores together (and you can even throw in the decent Casper and Balto in the middle of the timeline) represent one of the greatest periods of production that any composer has ever enjoyed. As the first in line, Legends of the Fall caught listeners by surprise with its sheer weight of performance and rich variety of themes.

Ratings Icon
Average: 4.24 Stars
***** 5,182 5 Stars
**** 2,805 4 Stars
*** 1,077 3 Stars
** 359 2 Stars
* 342 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
Holy crap, it's awesome!
Richard Kleiner - June 5, 2010, at 11:44 p.m.
1 comment  (2389 views)
Tombstone   Expand >>
CS_TBL - August 21, 2007, at 2:47 p.m.
3 comments  (6316 views)
Newest: December 20, 2020, at 8:54 p.m. by
Richard Smugley
The BEST Instrumentals!Legends of the Fall
Paige - September 15, 2006, at 9:53 p.m.
1 comment  (4976 views)
Excellent music
Sheridan - August 30, 2006, at 1:06 p.m.
1 comment  (3729 views)
This is my all time favourite score
Hornerfan2006 - May 5, 2006, at 12:31 p.m.
1 comment  (3181 views)
Legends of the Fall
tonius - April 18, 2006, at 9:37 a.m.
1 comment  (3800 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 75:15
• 1. Legends of the Fall (4:17)
• 2. The Ludlows (5:40)
• 3. Off to War (5:55)
• 4. To the Boys... (2:49)
• 5. Samuel's Death (8:24)
• 6. Alfred Moves to Helena (3:01)
• 7. Farewell/Descent Into Madness (8:13)
• 8. The Changing Seasons, Wild Horses, Tristan's Return (5:11)
• 9. The Wedding (3:06)
• 10. Isabel's Murder, Recollections of Samuel (3:58)
• 11. Revenge (6:20)
• 12. Goodbyes (3:12)
• 13. Alfred, Tristan, The Colonel, The Legend... (15:09)
(track lengths listed only on the CD)

Notes Icon
The insert includes the following note from director Ed Zwick:

"At the heart of every story is a sound - something so deep that it resonates like a pressure in your chest. It is this feeling that the film composer seeks to make heard; not merely to underscore the chases, clinches, climaxes, or to smooth over the directorial inadequacies of soft cuts and shaky transitions, but to give voice to an inner life - it's soul, if such a thing can be said of film.

I first worked with James Horner on Glory. What he evoked with the piping voices of the Harlem Boys Choir endowed its images with a grace and tragedy no dialogue could ever express. As we began work on Legends of the Fall, we talked a lot about its atavistic nature - the dark and bloody heart, a love both overwhelming and destructive, the struggle of brothers for their birthright. We also talked a great deal about the melodies of the "old" place (Cornwall, England) from which these people had come; and the sounds of the "new" place (Montana, its native rhythms, its wildness) which had come to represent family and the ties that bind.

All I can say is that somehow James managed to distill all these lofty conversations into a score that is at once brooding and lush, redolent of both love and loss, and that touches that secret place of awe I had experienced only once before - upon my first reading of Legends of the Fall.

I wish to add my thanks to two soloists who joined James in the performance of this score: Jay Unger, whose fiddle solos so elevated Ken Burns' documentary The Civil War; and Kazu Matsui, perhaps the world's foremost interpreter of the Japanese wood flute, the shakuhachi."
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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 Legends of the Fall are Copyright © 1994, Epic Soundtrax/Sony Classical and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 1/17/08.
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