I really think that "The Mission" is one of the most important works by Ennio Morricone. Important in the sense that the Italian maestro presents us a work of strange beauty, especially with the London Voices chanting the Latin words in the opening cue 'On Earth As It Is In Heaven', a wonderful and powerful piece that fits perfectly in the marvelous landscapes surrounding the Iguazu Falls and the Indians who inhabitted it during the Spanish colonial settlements in the age of the discovery of the New World.
Beneath the chanting and the ethnic percussion, the theme for Padre Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) is heard. A lovely composition played on the flute on that opening track, and later played on oboe in the prettiest representation of the theme in the two versions of 'Gabriel's Oboe'.
The theme for "The Mission" is also truly spectacular and it's heard in the shots of the falls.
In spite of other attractive choral moments like 'Ave Maria Guarani', there is something that bothers me about this CD, and it's the overabundance of dark motives that foreshadow the final tragic moment of the film. Tracks such as 'Penance', 'Alone', 'Guarani', and 'The Sword' make me feel gloomy every time I listen to the album.
I wish there had been a good balance between the glorious and the dark moments in "The Mission", but I have to admit that Ennio Morricone created one interesting and experimental score.