Martin Scorsese's new epic film "The Aviator" makes broad use of a good deal of source material, songs and music from Hollywodd in the transitional period from the 1920s to the 1940s, a period also considered the "Golden Age" of Hollywood in general, and film scoring in particular. The source music is well represented on the "soundtrack" album. The film is also very indebted to an orchestral score by Howard Shore who has clearly now come into in his own. In the wake of "The Lord of the Rings," Shore would have been allowed something of a weak encore, but instead we have another musical triumph. Though not on a scale with "The Lord of the Rings," Shore's music for "The Aviator" proves again that Howard Shore is one of the great composers of film music(we cannot wait for his score for Peter Jackson's "King Kong"). The underlying motif here is the early growth of aviation in general and indeed in film through the life of Howard Hughes, all spectacular stories in and of themselves. Shore's score does indeed soar to this end with a grand main theme that is in the heroic category. The opening of the album has been described as a take on the Baroque, but in fact as that section and the rest of the score develops it is much more akin to what could be called contemporary classical music such as that of Paul Hindemith who did some of his best work in that so-called "Golden Age," the 1930s and the 1940s (note Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphisis of Themes by Carl Maria Von Weber" for instance-especially the "March"). As such Shore has done something quite remarkable, original but subtly reflective of the period depicted in the film (his inclusion of Spanish motifs is also in this vein). This is a dynamic, exciting and dramatic score that seems perfect for the time, the place, the figure, and the story. Sadly, some of the Shore music was replaced in the film with classical and source material. The album works quite well on its own, and is nicely produced and packaged by Decca. By the way, Shore conducts The Flemish Radio Orchestra. The performance is flawlewss, but this will be the answer to a trivia question sometime this year. A Golden Globe winner for Best Score, but amazingly left out of the running for the Academy Awards. The soundtrack album is ok but quite different than the "Original Score" album reviewed here.