World Trade Center/Armstrong

August 11, 2006


Restrained is the best word that I can use to describe the score created by Armstrong for the Oliver Stone film “World Trade Center” starring Nicholas Cage and Michael “Crash” Pena. Based on the true story written by John McLoughlin, one of the real officers, it tells the story of the two trapped heroic policeman who were eventually rescued. This is not a conspiracy film of any sorts and it is about what happened to the officers. It is difficult for me not to comment on the film itself but it is something I have feelings about and choose silence.

The first cue “World Trade Center Cello Theme” is performed flawlessly with excellent tone and feeling by Alison Lawrance and is the theme that drives the majority of this score. It is complemented on this track with a very brief appearance of the Hollywood Film Chorale, strings and harp. “World Trade Center Piano Theme” is similiar but different from the cello version. You can hear some percussion when it rises to a crescendo. Still it is extremely restrained. The “World Trade Center Choral Piece” features Susie Stevens Logan as soprano soloist and we hear a short brass statement of the theme from the trombones. This choral piece could very easily have been a church work were it not for the brass. Keep in mind the word restrained. “John & Donna Talk About Their Family” has a couple of guitar bars slightly upbeat and almost seem out of place! As far as positive music goes “John Rescued/Resolution” is it. A little bit of percussion with cymbals and electronics added to the main theme played in a higher register from the string section is as much as you are ever going to hear. We conclude with a restrained “Elegy” track a piece to honor those who gave their lives in this horrific event. The celestial concluding solo piano coda performed eloquently by Craig Armstrong ends this most somber CD. In fact, Craig performed all of the piano and keyboards for this score bringing out all of the delicacy that he composed into this work.

The recording, done on the Newman Scoring Stage, mastering by Patricia Sullivan Fourstar, The Hollywood Studio Symphony and Film Chorale are superb. Having stated this many times, they have it down to a science. After 20 years of putting cream in your coffee you know just the correct amount to use and the same holds true today with recordings. The Hollywood Studio is the cream of the crop and it can be successfully argued the finest ensemble in the entire world.

This score, in my opinion, is going to appeal to the group of people who are strongly touched by the film and want something in addition. The soundtrack will fill that need for sure. People who enjoy the work of Craig, especially his solo piano works among others, will want this soundtrack. For the average listener/collector a visit to itunes for the downloading of the first track “World Trade Center Cello Theme” will likely satisfy that person. In essence, it is one very long adagio of sorts.


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