Soundtrack review: Gladiator (Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard – 2000)

There was a time when film music didn’t really mean that much to me. I was familiar with Ennio Morricone, Vangelis, and Goran Bregovic, I could recognize the famous John Williams themes without knowing who wrote them and I thought the main theme from Twin Peaks was the most amazing thing I had ever heard (actually, this is the one thing that hasn’t changed since then).

I was in the cinema, immersed in this beautiful movie when the images slowly started fading in the background of the unreal sounds I was hearing. It was a slow, intimate melody, warm and divine and I heard love in it. Then came the fight scenes and the music as so epic and melodic that I thought it was going to break the cinema and put it back together again. There was an angelic female voice blessing quite a few scenes, and I needed to have that music.

This is how I met Hans Zimmer. I won’t ever forget the first time I listened to “Earth”, or “Paricide”, or “The battle”. I had never heard film music like that, and I wanted to hear more. Gladiator was the most sublime composition I had ever heard. I discovered that Lisa Gerrard, my old friend from “Dead can dance” was that perfect voice that had been haunting me. This combination between melody, orchestra,  and heart was unbelievable and was one of the portals that brought me into the film music world.

Gladiator is one of the scores most responsible for my love of film music, and also for the development of the genre. Gladiator is one of the most pleasant and fulfilling listening experience anyone could have, and many years from now it will be revered as much as Ben-Hur. It is one of the richest and most beautiful compositions of our time and one of Hans Zimmer’s crown achievements. From the thrillingly inspirational “Barbarian horde”, through the love in “Earth”, to the heaviness and heartbreak of “Am I not merciful?”, this score is a journey of intense feelings and doubts, a reflection on how beauty can take many shapes and forms. For me, it’s the equivalent for film music of David’s statue in Florence.

  • Cue rating: 100 / 100
  • Total minutes of excellence: 62 / 62
  • Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

  1. Progeny
  2. The Wheat
  3. The Battle
  4. Earth
  5. Sorrow
  6. To Zucchabar
  7. Patricide
  8. The Emperor Is Dead
  9. The Might of Rome
  10. Strength and Honor
  11. Reunion
  12. Slaves to Rome
  13. Barbarian Horde
  14. Am I Not Merciful?
  15. Elysium

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