The Book Thief has been added to your Cart

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

The Book Thief

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 12.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
Only 4 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
35 new from CDN$ 7.21 3 used from CDN$ 9.99

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Book Thief
  • +
  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?
Total price: CDN$ 38.86
Buy the selected items together

Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 26 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,730 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

Original score to the 2013 motion picture composed by John Williams. In a career spanning almost six decades, John Williams has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures including Star Wars, Jaws, the Indiana Jones films, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler's List and the first three Harry Potter films. Winner of 21 Grammy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and five Academy Awards, Williams is easily the most recognized composer working in film today. Through his career, Williams has worked closely with Steven Spielberg, composing music for all but two of his feature films, and most recently on the Academy Award-nominated scores for The Adventures of Tintin, Warhorse and Lincoln.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Williams writes a delicate score featuring almost no brass section. It has many elements of his previous scores; however it is lighter than "Angela's Ashes," more intimate than "Seven Years in Tibet," and less fantastical than "Jurassic Park." Regardless it contains some familiar techniques as those scores—and if it doesn't make you feel, it at least makes you appreciate Williams's craft.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was so disappointed with it, I thought I was ordering the E-book and here it
was the sound track of the Movie...
0 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa5687714) out of 5 stars 52 reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa54a103c) out of 5 stars Williams at his most emotional and intimate Nov. 16 2013
By Jon Broxton - Published on
The Book Thief, based on the popular novel by Markus Zusak, is a World War II drama set in Germany about the power of the written word. Young Sophie Nélisse stars as the lead character, Liesel, who is sent to live with foster parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson), just as the specter of war looms over the country and Nazism begins to take hold. Through her innocent eyes Liesel begins to witness the first months of what would be eventually become the Holocaust, but through the compassion of her new parents, their imparted love of books and literature, and her friendship with of a young Jewish man named Max, she finds a way to deal with the atrocities that are starting to take place in her community. The film is directed by Brian Percival, best known for his work on the critically acclaimed TV series Downton Abbey, and has a score by the legendary John Williams.

It came as something of a surprise when Williams was announced as The Book Thief’s composer, as it marks the first time he has worked on a film that did not involve either George Lucas or Steven Spielberg since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004 (Spielberg was originally set to direct Memoirs of a Geisha, and is one of that film’s producers). Williams has tackled this sort of subject matter before, in films like Schindler’s List, and he is an acknowledged master at composing scores from a child’s point of view, as he has done numerous times through his career, but for him to turn up scoring a film such as this, working with a new director at the age of 81, is unexpectedly wonderful. Apparently Williams read Zusak’s novel, and when he heard that a film was being made, he actively sought out the scoring gig. As such, this is clearly a very personal project for Williams, and the resulting score reflects that obvious love of the source material.

The Book Thief falls squarely within that realm of heartfelt, weighty, profound dramatic works that also feature a little bit of child-like innocence and idealism, to stop the whole thing from bogging down. As with virtually all Williams works, it’s also remarkably beautiful, written for a full orchestra, masterfully orchestrated, and containing a great deal of heart and sentiment, as befits the work of someone who has been bringing beauty, heart and sentiment to the world of cinema for over 50 years. In terms of overall sound, one could say that The Book Thief is an amalgamation of Schindler’s List and Angela’s Ashes, with a little bit of Empire of the Sun and a little bit of Jane Eyre thrown in for good measure. It’s classic emotional Williams through and through, and a welcome reminder of everything that can be good about film music, and his music in particular.

The score is mainly dominated by piano and strings, with the rest of the orchestra dancing around it, bringing little bits of color and flavor to the score, but never overwhelming this intimate core sound. The main theme flows fluidly through many cues, beginning in the opening “One Small Fact”, which passes the main melody from strings to woodwinds and back again, while the piano provides elegant, undulating accompaniment. “The Journey to Himmel Street” is a slightly more downbeat and reflective recapitulation, but by the time the florid piano line reappears in “Learning to Read” it has become a recurring leitmotif for Liesel’s thirst for knowledge, and her increasing love of literature. The solo cello that anchors “Learning to Write” allows the theme to grow even more, as another new aspect of Liesel’s communication skills is developed, and the whole thing reaches a lovely conclusion in the warmly emotional “Writing to Mama” .

Elsewhere, Liesel’s idyllic life, and her carefree childhood is depicted by the lovely “New Parents and a New Home”, while the flighty playfulness of cues like “The Snow Fight” and “Foot Race” bring the similarly effervescent sequences from The Adventures from Tintin and his Harry Potter scores into a new setting. Conversely, cues like “Book Burning” and the tragedy-laden “Rudy is Taken” are starker and darker, reminding the listener that the horrors of war and the evils of Nazism and the Holocaust are never far from Liesel’s front door. Low-end piano chords, bassoons combined with deep brasses, minor key crescendos and an overtly more oppressive tone anchor the former in a sense of darkness that is wholly appropriate in context, while the overwhelming poignancy of the latter is quite devastating.

Dotted throughout the score are several moments of wonderful orchestration, masterful technique, and beautiful instrumental combinations. The duet between Gloria Cheng’s piano and Joanne Turovsky’s harp in “Ilsa’s Library” is sublime; the sensitive oboe solo in “Max and Liesel” is heartbreakingly tender; the crescendo towards the end of “The Train Station” has a profound sense of longing and loss. Later, “The Visitor at Himmel Street” offers a touch of romance to the proceedings, with a warm string and harp combination that is very touching, while the lovely “Finale” features the most compelling piano solo of the entire score. The seven-minute end credits concert piece, “The Book Thief”, gives Williams the opportunity to raise the emotional content of his music even further, with the boldest performances of his main themes.

Some may criticize The Book Thief for being unoriginal. It’s true, The Book Thief breaks no new ground, and it’s awash in all the compositional traits and hallmarks that have characterized the majority of Williams’ scores over the last 20 years. But, at this stage in the game, re-inventing the wheel is not really the point any more – when you hire John Williams to write music for your film, you do so because you want more of what John Williams brings to the table – his sound, and his sensibility. The Book Thief is exactly that sort of score. Warm and inviting, familiar and comfortable, a vintage Williams work in every sense of the word.

As has been mentioned by myself and others over the last few years, Hollywood is currently going through a period where strongly thematic, emotionally direct scores for serious films are considered passé, and perhaps even a little cheesy, by mainstream film critics. I just don’t understand how that opinion has become the prevalent one, especially when listening to scores like this one. The Book Thief illustrates and brings out the emotions in the listener and the viewer with grace and sincerity, never overwhelming them, allowing the audience to feel the story at it unfolds. Simultaneously, the musicality and compositional excellence in the score illustrates just how well Williams understands musical storytelling and the importance of structure and narrative in film music. How can this be passé or cheesy? It’s the essence of good cinema, and just proves once more why Williams is one of the greatest film composers who ever lived.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Lori M. Tritz - Published on
This soundtrack is heart meltingly lovely. When I watched the trailer from The Book Thief film I was transported by the music to Liesel's world in Germany. Every song on this soundtrack fits perfectly with the story. I think this may be one of John Williams best pieces of work in his long and illustrious career. Bravo!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa52b17bc) out of 5 stars Stunning Nov. 25 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
STUNNING!! very beautiful piece. there isn't much I could add to a review that had not already been said. this album is worth getting, and will quickly become a favorite.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa56a58dc) out of 5 stars The Maestro's heartfelt drama score of a power and a force that's delivered quietly Nov. 17 2013
By Joe Aliberti - Published on
Verified Purchase
Despite having both an interesting story (that's narrated by Death) centering on an adopted girl's growing literacy amidst the backdrop of Third Reich-ruled Germany and having the most well-meaning of intentions, I found the film adaptation of Markus Zusak's novel THE BOOK THIEF to be pretty lackluster as it felt more like a TV movie with only a solid performance by Geoffrey Rush as the girl's adoptive father giving it any weight. Nonetheless, it will probably get a few Oscar nominations since this is exactly the type of film the Academy loves to nominate. And there is no person the Academy loves to nominate more than composer John Williams, whose score for this film is a definite lock for a nomination and just might be the frontrunner in the best score category. It is through his involvement I became aware of the project and what's very interesting about it to me is that its the first feature-length film he has worked on since Roland Emmerich's THE PATRIOT back in 2000 that isn't directly associated with either a name-brand film series or Steven Spielberg. As a Williams fan, I was intrigued to hear what he would come up with and how it worked both for the film and on album.

In a promotional interview, Williams described the film as having "a power and a force that's delivered quietly" and I feel the exact same way about his music here. In fact, I'm reminded of his score to another film with those same attributes: ANGELA'S ASHES. It's an obvious comparison, yes, but that's not a bad thing. The main theme Williams has written for this film has the delicate beauty of the aforementioned title and the romantic sweep of his underrated theme to SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET (but never quite hits those melodramatic highs) and gets quite a workout where it is skillfully woven in. The best uses of it in my opinion are in "Ilsa's Library", "Learning to Read", and "Learning to Write" as they are the more emotionally resonant moments of the film. Given the story and setting, there are moments of both gloom (such as "Book Burning" with it's eerie MUNICH-like dissonance) and respite (such as "The Snow Fight" and "Foot Race", reminding me of the playful moments of both TINTIN and WAR HORSE) and it is to Williams' credit that these contrasting emotions play off each other as beautifully as they do. The rest of the score is filled with the quiet drama reminiscent of both ASHES and LINCOLN that are equally effective. If one is unsure of buying this album, however, I suggest getting the eponymous last track as it is the main theme presented as an end credits suite.

After what seemed like lengthy breaks in-between films in the later half of the 2000's, it's great to have Williams back on the scene regularly in this current decade. Had Williams not scored it, the film probably would've gone to someone like Alexandre Desplat to raise its profile in the minds of awards voters. But, the fact that Williams did it makes it all the more special and really elevates the film in a way I don't think anyone else would have (not that Desplat is a slouch or anything). I'm not sure where I'd rank it amongst Williams' other works, but that has less to do with the quality of this music and more to do with the quality of his vast output (which is of a high standard). Regardless, it's a prime example of heartfelt dramatic scoring from a master musical dramatist that's presented on a smooth-flowing fifty-three minute album with good sound quality that no fan of this composer should miss.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa52e6e88) out of 5 stars JW - mature, intelligent and elegant Feb. 10 2014
By Darwin, Charles Darwin - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A more mature presentation of other scores in similar fashion. He says more by saying less here. Must have for film lovers.

Look for similar items by category