Soundtrack Information

Spartacus

Spartacus

Intrada (ISE1004)

Release Date: 2005

Conducted by Randy Miller

Performed by
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra

Format: CD

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Track Listing

1. Intro: Rome 3:52
2. Second Thought 4:38
3. Varinia 5:20
4. Revolt 6:03
5. Choosing Fighters 5:09
6. Draba 2:34
7. His Plan 7:02
8. Plunder 2:43
9. Hannible Story 3:31
10. Maximus Battle 7:46
11. Cows Revealed 3:12
12. Crixxus Goodbye 3:34
13. Crassus Battle 4:21
14. All The Rest 3:09
  Total Album Time: 62:54

Review

by Demetris Christodoulides
on June 27th, 2005
[3 / 5]

Last year, director Robert Dornhelm brought us a mammoth two-part mini-series, Spartacus. Based on the Howard Fast novel, and adapted for television by Robert Schenkkan, the series starred Goran Visnjic ("ER") in the role of the true-life Thracian slave who turned into a gladiator and finally challenged and faced the might, power and revenge of the Roman Empire, towards the rebellion he started.

Released by Intrada Records on their Signature Series, and limited to 1000 copies only, the score was written by Randy Miller who conducted the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. The music is essentially a cross between a full symphony orchestra and the typical orchestration for this kind of stories: an eastern, ethnic musical ensemble of duduk, oud, eastern percussion and eerie, wordless female vocals.

As far as motifs and themes are concerned, the whole work is built around a 5-note main theme. A versatile and flexible melody that undergoes constant development during the whole of the score, it also serves as the basis for new melodic lines. It is first heard in "Intro: Rome" which opens the score in a hypnotic and mysterious albeit short performance, and moves into a grand and brassy action fanfare completed by discreet Irish influences (which too make sparse appearances during the score) and duduk passages. Various renditions and variations of the main theme occur through the rest of the soundtrack, typically making these moments the highlights of the notable cues.

Pieces like the duduk-led "Second Thought", the festive, brassy and percussive action fanfare of "Revolt" along with the similar sounding "Plunder", appear to be influenced by Zimmer's Gladiator. Particular highlights also include "Varinia", a very beautiful, uplifting piece; the very rewarding "Maximus Battle" with its highly original, personal and dense action music; the excessively moving theme for the slave Crixxus in "Crixxus Goodbye", performed by the full orchestra and led by strings along with heavenly, light choir. Finally, in what is possibly the brightest standout cue of this work, "Crassus Battle" - a very emotional piece which relies on passionate string lines and heroic backup by the rest of the orchestra and pounding percussion. Aided by the glorious main theme and female vocals which altogether give way to some high pitched, slow string lines, Miller offers a very emotional and heartfelt approach to the Crassus' attack with his superior and powerful Roman legions. Notable also is the concluding ethereal and warm track, "All the Rest".

On the downside, the rest of the pieces - with their plain underscore and obvious action music material - deduct from the overall CD listening experience. The unoriginal ethnic instrumentation that dominates a large part of the score, often transmits the feeling that it is being employed by Miller when a dead-end is met, or simply as an on-screen time-filling component and often, all the notable elements of the score get somewhat lost when trying too hard to achieve several goals in one time, instead of focusing to something more specific. The only actual bonding element is the admittedly neat and working main theme, along with the interesting secondary motifs. If you can get over those minor issues, you are in for a decent ride with musical foundations greatly influenced by Hans Zimmer's Gladiator, Brian Tyler's Children of Dune, and even a touch of Gabriel Yared's brilliant rejected score for Troy.


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