Friday, September 21, 2012

New CD: Music from the Dark Knight Trilogy

I don't mean to sound jaded, but I'm starting to wonder why some music labels insist upon re-recording music that film score fans already own. Case in point, the new "Music from the Batman Trilogy" CD. Fifteen tracks of moody, dark, pulsating, sometimes thrilling, always bombastic music from the trilogy that began with Batman Begins, then went onto The Dark Knight, and recently concluded with The Dark Knight Rises. What I don't get is why anyone thinks we need (or want) this CD. I mean, the soundtracks are readily available, and there's even an expanded album of Dark Knight music. At any rate, this CD clocks in at 73 minutes of music to fight crime in Gotham by. It's got a pretty good selection of themes composed by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer. At moments it's thoughtful. At others, it's over the top. Presented in chronological order, these tracks tell the story of the movies musically, and it's a fairly satisfying program. I wish the music itself were more interesting, though. I've never been a fan of this kind of themeless, percussive scoring. I couldn't discern a theme that runs through the series; if anything its tone is set by heavy electronic orchestration, a sort of musical violence that propels the action relentlessly forward. It's as if the music is a newfangled Batmobile; nothing will stand in its way. As performed by London Music Works and the City of Prague Philaharmonic Orchestra, the whole affair comes off as an exercise in how to score something in a decidedly sinister style in which something always seems about to happen but never quite does. Here's to hoping this is all the Batman music we see for a while. It's plenty, and it may even be too much.

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