Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer managed to bring both a sense of fear and foreboding and the spirit of heroism to his score for this 2001 war epic. Faith Hill's soaring ballad There You'll Be leads to Zimmer's pieces Tennessee; Brothers; Attack; December 7th , and more!
Hans Zimmer's lush and romantic Pearl Harbor
album inverts every expectation of what a World War II epic should sound like. Zimmer previously explored the American Pacific war in The Thin Red Line
(1998), though this time he takes a more commercial direction. The programme opens with the power ballad by Faith Hill, "There You'll Be", establishing in the wake of Titanic
(1997) this as blockbuster mixing romance with maritime disaster hoping for a share of the success that came Celine Dion's way. The eight orchestral cues concentrate on romance and the pity of war, ranging from noble melancholy to an elevated spiritual purity. The choral writing incorporated into "December 7th" continues a direction Zimmer explored with Hannibal
(2001), where he similarly underlined the heart rather than the horror. Only during "War" do the snare drums finally arrive for a rousing slice of patriotic and exciting action with the military sensibility continued into the valedictory "Heart of a Volunteer". The heavily processed orchestra is familiar from Zimmer's Gladiator
(2000), the composer continuing his knack of delivering an instantly memorable theme which retains interest through numerous moods and variations. Augmented by wistful piano and ethereal choir, Pearl Harbor
is melodic and accessible and has every chance of being the most popular instrumental soundtrack of 2001. --Gary S Dalkin