by Dan Goldwasser
After he won two Academy Awards for his work on Titanic, composer James Horner scored one of 1998's more entertaining films: The Mask of Zorro. It was a delightful romp of an adventure film, and Horner's score stood out as being fun and not taking itself too seriously, while at the same time providing us with quite a few memorable themes.
Now, seven years later, the sequel to the film is here: The Legend of Zorro. Returning as Zorro is Antonio Banderas, with Elena (now his wife) played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Years have gone by, and they now have a son, who aspires to be like his dad. Also returning is director Martin Campbell, and providing the rousing score is none other than James Horner.
The soundtrack to the film will come out on October 25, 2005, by Sony Classical records. The following track titles and times are subject to change. SoundtrackNet has not seen the film, so we can only guess as to what is occurring on screen during the cues. Additionally, portions of this analysis might be inaccurate once further details of the score come to light (i.e. liner notes, full credits, etc.). But now, SoundtrackNet is pleased to provide our readers with this exclusive "First Listen" of the soundtrack to The Legend of Zorro.
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1. Collecting the Ballots (3:27)
The track starts out much as how the original soundtrack to Mask of Zorro started: a hard guitar strum, pipes, hand claps, foot stomps, and then a build up to what you would think would be the Zorro theme, but ends up being Spanish guitar, and a soft orchestra slowly building from woodwinds, to strings, until - with a flourish, the main theme comes in, confident and strong. Playful pizzicato strings give way to a soft denouement, before the track ends on a low note.
2. Stolen Votes (6:33)
Tense pipes and strings with bass drum bring in a trumpet heralding Zorro's theme. Hand claps and guitar underneath the brass as a very steady-paced version of the theme is played out. It grows to a nice big sweeping version of it, and then the Love Theme is quoted briefly before some dark chords come in. The secondary action theme (heard in "Ride" from the first score) is now heard, before Zorro's theme re-emerges. It then gives way to a tense orchestral building segment, falling back down, then jumping back up. Playful strings and orchestra bounce around, before the secondary theme comes back, and builds up with plenty of flourishes and a steady action rhythm. Zorro's Spanish-flavored mariachi-esque "fanfare" is briefly heard, before, the track calms down to a slightly foreboding version of the main theme.
3. To the Governor's... and then Elena (4:07)
A fast flamenco version of Zorro's Theme is heard, before segueing into another sweeping rendition of the Love Theme. We get the strings running up and down the scales, before the brass brings in the Love Theme once more. Now the secondary Love Theme (the first part of the song from the first film) then comes in on flute, followed by strings, before finishing it off with the main Love Theme once more.
4. "This is who I am" (3:07)
A variation on Zorro's Theme is softly played on clarinet, as the strings provide support. It builds to a pleasing orchestral statement, before a solo guitar brings in a bridge of the Love Theme, until - once more - we get Love Theme.
5. Classroom Justice (1:52)
A trumpet and strings give way to vibes, and then castanets. A brief statement of the "four-note danger motif" is heard, before a triumphant playful burst of brass and a "small-sounding" orchestra backs the trumpet, before ending on an abrupt note, with a triangle leading us out.
6. The Cortez Ranch (6:37)
Tense orchestra, with downward sliding trombones, and a pipe underneath start this cue. Strings slowly build as the orchestra joins in, then things come to a stop. Pounding bass drum and cello ostinato brings in a triumphant brass line, but then things get darker. As the strings play out, the orchestra has some ominous moments, but Zorro's theme manages to break through, before being overpowered by waves of darkness. It's an orchestral dance, with the theme battling for survival - and it's a lot of fun. In the end, the Zorro theme bursts forth, but only briefly before being taken down by a pipe blast, and then a sustained string note hovers over some soft guitar work, before a dark motif ends the cue.
7. A Proposal with Pearls / Perilous Times (4:00)
Soft harp and clarinet start the cue with the Love Theme, before a new theme is introduced, which we'll call the "False Love Theme". Zorro's Fanfare is briefly heard, before guitar comes in, softly underscoring the budding romance. A playful version of Zorro's secondary action theme is briefly heard, before a variation on the secondary Love Theme builds, playfully bouncing between the two themes, before ending on another ominous note.
8. Joaquin's Capture and Zorro's Rescue (5:02)
Low dissonance and rumbling percussion yields way to a tense action cue, with plenty of Zorro Theme statements. The strings build up as the brass descends, colliding in the middle. A nice secondary string run is heard underneath hand claps and guitar, and then things fall soft. A sweeping string version of Zorro's Theme is now heard, before a flute brings back the Love Theme, and then the secondary Love Theme, before ending with the main Love Theme once more.
9. Jailbreak / Reunited (5:38)
Another playful action cue, Zorro's Theme is heard, before what can best be described as a "crying violin" whines out, in pure comedic form. A burst of Zorro action, and then the violin cries again. Orchestra and guitar toss the music back and forth briefly, before the False Love Theme is heard once more, and then it all turns ominous. Harp is played darkly, and then with a pound of the drums, a string ostinato starts up an action segment. Triumphant trumpet bursts through, as the guitars pick up the rhythm, calming down to a clarinet. Tense pipes and strings play a variation on the secondary Love Theme, as it builds to another sweeping statement of the main Love Theme.
10. A Dinner of Pigeon / Setting the Explosives (5:06)
Dissonant brass starts out the cue, and a soft version of Zorro's theme is heard faintly in the background as a sparse orchestra - with low piano adding some effect - slowly builds up in the strings as the brass comes down from above. It's a tense cue, with lots of sustained moments, and the occasional bursts of energy. Suddenly the orchestra burst out in a flurry, before shutting down to dissonant sustained strings and low rumbling. Rhythmic bursts swell, and then we're left with a low string ostinato, and the "four-note danger motif" is briefly heard on trumpet, before settling down to a sadder rendition of Zorro's theme.
11. Mad Dash / Zorro Unmasked (3:22)
Tremolo strings and pounding anvil transition to a tense rhythmic string run, and a burst of Zorro's Theme on brass. A very quiet moment lets us hear the variation on the secondary Love Theme heard in "Reunited", before it transitions to the start of Zorro's theme. Execution-styled percussion beneath sorrowful brass and strings swell, and then a morose version of the Love Theme is heard on strings - with a woodwind picking up the trailing notes.
12. Just One Drop of Nitro (2:42)
The orchestra slowly builds up at first, then brass bursts through in a heroic charge. The strings and brass trade off, with a fun version of Zorro's theme. Hand slaps and stomps and flamenco guitar add to the excitement. Things calm down briefly, before building up slowly with castanets and guitar, and the occasional brass statement.
13. The Train (11:13)
This is the big climax cue of the score, and the longest track on the album. Rhythmic orchestra and brass play off each others, with a solo trumpet giving us bits of the Zorro Theme. Guitar and strings build up to a solo percussion bit, then the guitars come back in, followed by the trumpet regally playing the Zorro Theme. Soon the remaining strings and brass are filling it all in, and we burst into a triumphant statement of the theme, followed by some dark and ominous chords. A minor variation of the Zorro Theme is played, then the orchestra slowly rises, increasing tension (and tempo) as it builds. This continues for a bit, with a few variants, as the action continues, until it gets to a point where a minor version of the secondary Love Theme is heard over pounding drums, then tense snare drums. Then it builds upwards into a frenzied flourish, leaving us with a tense string ostinato that is reflected in the brass. The Love Theme is back, then it bursts into the secondary action theme. Strings build in an ostinato as staccato brass shout out over it. The track ends in a flurry of brass and strings.
14. Statehood Proclaimed (5:02)
A soft emotional rendering of the coda to the Love Theme is heard, before going into a completely new theme, comprised of stately regal chords, which probably have much to do with the title of the track. A tender guitar plays the Love Theme, then horns take over and bring us a sense of wonderment, before a clarinet comes in. Now the orchestra fills in and plays through a variant of the theme, before calming back down and giving us the large guitar strum hits heard at the opening of the albums, then a big sweeping finale version of the Love Theme builds up into the next track:
15. "My family is my life." (8:14)
Strumming guitar, foot stomps, castanets, and the main Zorro Theme start out the last track on the album. It then segues into the Love Theme, and then another sweeping version of the Zorro Theme. After some more of the Love Theme, it brings back the guitar and solo trumpet for a bit of Zorro's theme - which suddenly gets cut off for some tense string ostinatos that build and slowly the bassline from Zorro's theme emerges, and then then brass and percussion come back in, playing out hard on the trumpet. Then the strings build upward to a big rousing finale.
Special thanks to Jeremy Meyers at SonyBMG Masterworks, and Randy Kerber for their assistance with this article.