The Warrior/Isham

September 12, 2011

The Warrior, starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison, and Nick Nolte is a story of a martial arts match, Sparta, in which two brothers compete against each other. The Gavin ‘Miracle’ O’Connor directed film, who also wrote the screenplay, opened in the theaters on September 9th with the Lakeshore soundtrack available in stores on September 13th. The Liongate’s picture opening so close to 9-11 was no coincidence and will add to the popularity of the picture.

My first introduction to Mark Isham, composer of the film, was Little Man Tate, a modern jazz oriented soundtrack featuring some great solo work. Many have followed since as I became interested in what he had to offer. Films such as October Sky, The Cooler, Black Dahlia, and Crash got my attention further with Black Dahlia becoming a favorite in my collection with some really outstanding trumpet work by Mark.

The most intriguing and best track is the very first one “Listen to the Beethoven,” melody taken from his ninth symphony. I pondered while listening to it what would Beethoven think of how his music evolved? Somehow I think he would have approved. It opens in a soft mysterious fashion with the anticipation of something further waiting to happen. We hear the famous “Ode to Joy” theme which offers hope and inspiration. No trumpet, a M.O. of Isham, this is strings and orchestra with a steady pounding percussion. Excellent track! If you clink on the link next to this you’ll hear an audio clip of what I’m talking about listen to the beethoven “Paddy and Tommy” is very soft and sad underscore conveying a message of reflective thought provoking music. “Sparta- Night One,” a fairly long track offers some urgent strings and ear attention percussion. “I Can’t Watch You Fight” offers a mood of sadness, an adagio of sorts that could bring a tear to your eye. “Koba” offers piano chords, sad strings before percussion becomes key grabbing your attention. “Hero” is very proud and majestic with patriotic chords. “Brendan and Tess” with its soft strings and delicate piano is romantic. “The Devil You Know” begins with steady percussion, string plucking, and a guitar following suit with harmony from the strings. “Stop The Ship (Relapse)” is sad and thought provoking underscore. “Warrior” is underscore that slowly builds into a conclusion. “Brendan and Tommy” with its steady percussion, majestic trumpets/horns builds into an exciting conclusion. “About Today” with its frantic fiddle beginning introduces the vocal by The National sung as a narrative. It’s very slow in building up to a conclusion loud and dissonant.

This soundtrack will appeal to people who like the film and Mark Isham fans. For me it was a new look at Isham, sound that have little jazz roots and more of a modern under 30 appeal to it. It is good for this reviewer to explore different types of music instead of always listening to golden age and classical material.

Track listing


Listen To The Beethoven (05:28)


Paddy and Tommy (03:48)


Sparta – Night One (09:02)


I Can’t Watch You Fight (02:30)


Koba (06:10)


Hero (02:00)


Brendan and Tess (01:52)


The Devil You Know (01:33)


Stop The Ship (Relapse) (05:58)


Warrior (03:54)


Brendan and Tommy (04:41)


About Today (07:15)
Performed by The National

Total Duration: 00:54:11


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