Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lincoln OST (2012) - John Williams

Review #2

Artiste:  John Williams
Year:  2012
Genre:  Soundtrack / Orchestral
Duration:  58min
Label:  Sony Classical
Format:  CD

1. 'The People's House' – 3:42
2. 'The Purpose of the Amendment' – 3:07
3. 'Getting Out the Vote' – 2:48
4. 'The American Process' – 3:56
5. 'The Blue and Grey' – 2:59
6. 'With Malice Toward None' – 1:50
7. 'Call to Muster and Battle Cry of Freedom' – 2:17
8. 'The Southern Delegation and the Dream' – 4:43
9. 'Father and Son' – 1:42
10. 'The Race to the House' – 2:41
11. 'Equality Under the Law' – 3:11
12. 'Freedom’s Call' – 6:07
13. 'Elegy' – 2:34
14. 'Remembering Willie' – 1:51
15. 'Appomattox – Apr 9, 1865' – 2:36
16. 'The Peterson House and Finale' – 11:00
17. 'With Malice Toward None (Piano Solo)' – 1:32

One of John Williams' most poignant scores, and a masterpiece of film music, the soundtrack to the Steven Spielberg film is beautiful but also mournful.  Williams has vividly evoked the spirit of Lincoln's times, the folksy joy of voting as apparent in two tracks – 'Getting Out the Vote' and 'The Race to the House', the tumultuous spectre of the Civil War in ominous tracks like 'The Blue and Grey' and 'The Southern Delegation and the Dream', and the patriotism and American pride as evident in four different melodies composed and ultimately coming together in breathtaking fashion in the penultimate track 'The Peterson House and Finale'. 

Williams uses a lot of strings and horns for this score, giving a stately, highly formal feel, as if the music was written during that era for that era which has since long passed.  On its own, without the benefit of visuals, the score stands proud and strong.  While his previous score for War Horse (2011) was filled with unabashed sentimentality (and I say this in a positive light), his work here is stripped of all that, but not of its heart, and replaces the tugging of heartstrings with a more stoic attempt at doing just that.  The effect is one of deep melancholy, but not forgetting that it should also portray a tone of reverence for history, and for the Man himself. 

'With Malice Toward None' - a short but astonishingly emotional cue that calls for equality for humanity and to strive for the ideals that Lincoln had so graciously preached.  It's a melody of our inner desire to continually reaffirm our belief in human goodness.

'Freedom’s Call' – my favourite track that starts off with a single violin playing the melody from 'The Purpose of the Amendment', building up intensely with wave-like accompaniment from the double basses, loosely inspired by the bass line in the track 'Defense Preparations' from his score for Saving Private Ryan (1998).

'The Peterson House and Finale' – if one track could represent the entire album, it would be this epic 11-minute suite that is an amalgamation of all the themes, structured in such a way that each theme is fleshed out to the fullest one after another.

Reviewed on Luxman Stereo Integrated Amplifier A-383, Marantz Compact Disc Player CD-63SE, and a pair of 1973 New Advent Loudspeakers.

Sound Quality:
Superb recording with dynamic range


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