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Soundtrack review: The liberator (Gustavo Dudamel, 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The liberator (Gustavo Dudamel, 2014)


I am a big fan of South American composers and their scores. It’s a specific sound, warm, intense, and the specific instruments are a welcome addition. There is always some flute or string that makes me thing of the sound of the forest…I’ve listened to a lot of works by Gustavo Santaolalla or Antonio Pinto and I’ve rarely found something I didn’t like.
I had never heard of Gustavo Dudamel until Jorn Tillnes from Soundtrack Geek recommended this score to me. The movie is called “The liberator (Libertador)” and is the story of Simon Bolivar. Gustavo Dudamel is Venezuelan, and the conductor for the Simon Bolivar orchestra. This was his first venture into film music.
This score is beautiful and quite heroic at times. It’s a revolutionary score, so there were enough parts where I feel the need to rise from my chair. Other times, the flutes made me think of the world from Avatar, the sound send me instantly to James Horner’s masterpiece. The movies are so different, but the use of instruments brought them closer. This also tells me that flutes and similar instruments aren’t used that much lately and it really is a shame, because I love their sensitivity and sound. I always enjoy a good flute tune…
I was hooked from the first cue, “Quien puede detener la lluvia”, which is actually one of the few tracks that really got my attention. It’s epic, it’s intense and it’s beautiful. It has a dream start and a thundering finish. The other tracks I gave 5 stars to where emotional and moving: “Ellos estan con nosotros” and “El ultimo viaje”: both beautiful and sensible.  An exciting start and a romantic and intense ending make for a very enjoyable score. 
Though beautiful and very pleasant as an overall listen, “The liberator” didn’t stick with me once it was over. Many of the cues (with the exception of the ones mentioned before plus “Regreso a Venezuela” and “Manuela”) are rather generic orchestral offerings: nice, right at the edge of greatness, but rarely crossing it.  I am sure that if I’ll listen to it again I will love it, but I don’t know if that will happen very often. Having said that, I will be on the lookout for Gustavo Dudamel’s future compositions (hoping he will take movie scoring full time), because there’s a lot of potential there.
My ratings:
Cue rating: 81/ 100
Total minutes of excellence: 38 / 59
Album excellence: 65%
Cues to listen to:
Quien puede detener la lluvia
Ellos estan con nosotros
 El ultimo viaje
Regreso a Venezuela
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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