The Da Vinci Code/Zimmer

May 3, 2006

I was finally given a headstart on a review 10 days before the official release date!  Of course I am at a huge disadvantage given the film release date is not until May 19th but no matter I will attempt to review it as best I can without viewing the film.  This is just an intial observation more than anything else.  The review will be posted in the scorereview web site.  I think the popularity of the score will be somewhat dictated by the success of the picture, which has already raised a lot of public interest because of the religious subject matter.  But the last I recall it is a novel isn't it?  And it is Hollywood doing it and aren't they interested in making money?  Enough said and on with the review.


Dan Brown's #1 New York Times Bestselling novel, originally published in 2003, has now sold over 40 million copies amid controversy, law suits, and statements from the Vatican itself. It is now brought to the screen starring Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, and Audrey Tautou. The Ron Howard directed film produced by Brian Grazer is another collaboration as they worked together on Cinderella Man in 2005. The truth/heresy/lawsuits over copyright infringement and plagiarism just benefit the film making everyone want to see it. With the midyear (May 2006) release it should do extremely well at the box office. The basic plot of the story is filled with murder, intrigue, and underground societies all involving the bloodlines of Christianity itself! The clues are all in plain sight in the Da Vinci paintings yet no one can see them until the curator in the Louvre is murdered and Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) becomes embroiled in the mystery.

Howard and Zimmer had previously worked together on Backdraft in 1991 so they were certainly not strangers to each other. Even so Ron Howard still makes the comment that "a motion picture scoring session never fails to scare the hell out of me." However, by the end of the day five of the major themes were recorded and any fear was laid to rest. Hans had done his job and very well as he is now a veteran of over 100 scores in a 20 year span. An important word of caution to all. This is not the bombastic Batman, Peacemaker, or Crimson Tide score that you might be use to from Hans. This is a serious classical/choral work written in a way that one is reminded of Sibelius, Bruckner, or Mahler. The mourning melody of the very first track "Dies Mercurii I Martius" are quite Sibelius in nature and coupled with the frantic harmony used so often by Bruckner you are off and running on this wonderful classical adventure."L'Esprit Des Gabriel" introduces us to the chorus for the first time which features the excellent soprano work of Hila Plitmann. Hila, along with the chorus, are used quite effectively in "Poisoned Chalice" which is written like a short scene right out of an opera. As the title indicates this is quite an inspirational moving piece. You will be saddened by its mournful style but one that you will likely come back to over and over again. And while there is no new territory opened or explored it does show the excellent talent of Hans Zimmer. He is well schooled, meticulous in nature and this as well as other tracks show this. "Salvete Virgines" is a strictly choral piece with words by Abhay Manusmare in a chanting style. Nick Glennie-Smith who has done great scores in his own right such as Man In The Iron Mask directed the choir for this CD. Nick was also involved in the arranging process along with Lorne Balfe and Henry Jackman. The final track, "Kyrie For The Magdalene", is a very religious poignant work composed by Richard Harvey. Hila leads the work backed up by the Choir of the King's Consort. Richard is also a fine composer most recently for his work on Colditz and Luther. Zimmer, Harvey, and Glennie-Smith make a great team effort along with a long long list of other contributors too long to mention in this review.

The recording process these days I liken to putting a cup of coffee in the microwave to warm up. Once you know its 45 seconds to get it to the just so temperature you want its automatic. The same holds true with this recording. Geoff Foster, Al Clay, and Alan Meyerson, have it done to a science, blending the synth, orchestra, choir, and soloists into a properly melded group.

On first listen there was no dominant theme to be heard. On the second listen there was no dominant theme that could be detected. But on the third and subsequent listenings there was one used throughout the entire score. Beginning in "L'Esprit Des Gabriel" and appearing in "Rose Of Arimathea" with chorus and orchestra it is truly a powerful theme reminiscent of a classical Russian tone poem. Dark and somber, yet religious and uplifting, this score is one to be recommended. The suspense and excitement of the film are enhanced by this soundtrack, which is exactly what Ron Howard had in mind.

Decca # B0006479-02

Music composed, arranged, and produced by Hans Zimmer

Conducted by Richard Harvey

Choir conducted by Nick Glennie-Smith

Track Listing

Track listing

1. Dies Mercurii I Martius (06:03)

2. L'esprit Des Gabriel (02:48)

3. The Paschal Spiral (02:49)

4. Fructus Gravis (02:50)

5. Quodis Arcana (06:07)

6. Malleus Maleficarum (02:19)

7. Salvete Virgines (03:14)

8. Daniel's 9th Cipher (09:31)

9. Poisoned Chalice (06:19)

10. The Citrine Cross (05:22)

11. Rose of Arimathea (08:12)

12. Beneath Alrischa (04:23)

13. Chevaliers De Sangreal (04:07)

14. Kyrie for the Magdalene (03:55)

Written by Richard Harvey

Total Time is 68:00

One Response to “The Da Vinci Code/Zimmer”

  1. Jonathan Fox Says:

    L’esprit Des Gabriel is a powerful theme and is echoed in other tracks. Some have said how can you listen to such somber music but that is a simplicity in my view. Upon listening to it in the car and driving through the leafy lanes of England past the old Gothic churches and cottages it takes on a new life.

    I love this music and have always been a fan of Hans Zimmer. There are some connections with Hannibal in this soundtrack although this work is quite distinct in every other respect.

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