Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard,
Gladiator
(Decca, 2000)

In the summer of 2000, DreamWorks and Universal released Gladiator, the epic struggle of one man against a corrupt Caeser to bring Rome back to the people. The movie was filled with spectacular sets, great actors and one of the best scores I have yet heard.

Composed by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard, the album contains 17 tracks that take the epic theme well to heart. For example, the third track covers the opening battle against the Germanic tribes. With strings and horns pounded away, you can close your eyes and envision the battle, right from the film. Or feel Maximus' grief as he rushes home only to find the bodies of his slain family and his burnt-out villa in track five, titled "Sorrow."

Along with Zimmer's masterful composition, which captures a Mediterranean feel, there is also the moving vocals of Dead Can Dance's Gerrard; her haunting chants add to the authentic feel of the music, as well as lending emotion to such tracks as "The Wheat," the musical interlude over Maximus' dream of home, and the melodic and touching track 15, "Elysium," when Maxiums falls after defeating Commodious.

This is a compelling soundtrack which I spin at least once a day. These 17 tracks not only take me back to the movie itself, but also delight and entertain my ears and heart on their own merits. Definitely one to add to any music collection.

[ by Charlie Gebetsberger ]