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Soundtrack review: The Bible (Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe & Lisa Gerrard – 2013)

Film scores Hans Zimmer

Soundtrack review: The Bible (Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe & Lisa Gerrard – 2013)

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The Bible is a television miniseries produced by the guy who brought us the Survivor reality show, Mark Burnett. I have to be honest; I don’t think the producers had any choice really when it came to who was going to score it. The score had to be both epic and heavenly, both affecting and serene, and everybody knows that the trio of Hans Zimmer, his faithful and frequent collaborator Lorne Balfe and Lisa Gerrard can bring their magic and pull this off. I can’t imagine a score with these three composers involved failing or not being memorable.
 And boom, the score starts with a cue of biblical proportions…a 13 minutes long cue that’s in the tradition of Hans Zimmer’s over 10 minutes long tracks: simply amazing. Hans brought his two favorite spells here: the ostinato (the “stubborn”, a motif, a rhythmic pattern that persistently repeats itself) and the “Zimmer build up”. Ok, these may not actually be his favorite tools, but they are two of the things that make me consider him the most special composer in the business. He’s a magician with an endless bag of tricks. This cue rises like a tidal wave coming from far away: first just an echo, then it gradually builds up to a huge wall of water that just sweeps me away…it’s massive, it’s dreamy, it’s intense, and it fades into serenity once the wave breaks, when Lisa Gerrard’s angelic voice and a few choral inserts take over this masterpiece; and in the final two minutes of the cue everything settles down, but nothing will ever be the same…”Faith” is a perfect title for this cue. This is faith, this is how it acts, this is how it feels inside, and this is how it affects someone.
Time to catch our breath? No, because the next cue is even better! “In the beginning” is my favorite track from the entire album. It’s unstoppable and it gives me goose bumps from the first note until it ends. Epic is not a word strong enough for this track. It’s one of those pieces that make me want to take over the world’s airwaves and just play it for everyone.
So, point made by the three wise men (and woman) who wrote this score. As far as I’m concerned, they could have recorded just background noise after these first two cues, and the album still would have been great. Except they didn’t. The other tracks from the album are still beautiful, touching, intense, deep and rich. Lisa’s voice is heavenly, it was made for this, and Hans and Lorne really know how to support it.
The end of the score, with “The nativity”, “Creation choral” and “Rise up in faith”, is dominated by Lisa Gerrard and only makes sure that when the album stops, it leaves a void inside me that can only be filled by playing it again…The music respects the theme of the series; it respects the nature of the feelings the stories might awaken and stir inside the viewers, and it works marvelously as a standalone listen when you might need to reconnect with your own faith, regardless of what it might be, or when you might need a reminder of what it means to believe in something. Among other things, I believe in Hans Zimmer and his music.   
My ratings:
Cue rating: 91 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 55 / 55
Album excellence: 100%
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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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