At last INFERNO the third in the series which began a few years ago with THE DA VINCI CODE has hit the screen and along with it comes the release of Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack. Like with the previous two movies Zimmer has enlisted and fashioned a score from a fusion of electronic and also more conventional instrumentation, but this time I think personally that the synthetic at times has the upper hand over the symphonic. This is not necessarily a bad thing because the composer has created a score that is at times very fast moving and exciting with the accent being upon the use of action type music and musical sounds that have the listener on the edge of their seat without even seeing any of the images and sequences from the movie. I would say that this is a score that is more sound design rather than actual music, but saying that there are a number of cues that are mesmerising and quite serene and celestial sounding with Zimmer bringing into the proceedings choir (not sure if this too is synthetic) and heartrending and subdued violin solos to purvey an atmosphere and mood that is far from apprehensive and tense. There are also I have to say an equal amount of compositions which are shall we say less than shy and retiring, in fact I did find a few rather tough going and dare I say it grating upon one’s ears. I am not going to say I am a great fan of this composers scores or his at times rather offbeat and oddball approaches to film scoring, what I will say however is that every movie I have seen which has been scored by him has always received great support from his music, it’s a case of it works well in the movie but maybe not away from it, (yes I know that’s the idea of movie music). This does not apply to all of his work for the cinema I have to say as many of his scores are a delight to sit and listen to, as in GLADIATOR, BACKDRAFT, LAST SAMURI etc. Zimmer is a master of introducing a fragment of a theme and then repeating this and gradually building the piece until it becomes more developed and complete he kind of chips away at the listeners subconscious and plants the hint of a theme then builds upon its subtle beginnings until it becomes this full blown and at times epic sounding piece, the track VENICE from INFERNO is one such example it has a slow and rather unassuming beginning but as it progresses the composer adds layers and various sounds and colours to bring it out into the open as it were, a lilting piano opens VENICE which is underlined by strings the piano performance is then developed more and becomes more pronounced and dominant, percussion and choir are then brought into the equation with rising strings giving the cue a more prominent and vigorous sound, it then falls back to a subdued and slight sounding interlude with strings still acting as a background, these then fade away and re-enter the piano momentarily with strings and synthetic elements adding their weight to the piece, like his TIME theme from INCEPTION the cue continues to build and gain strength without really sounding as if is going anywhere.
Effective and also affecting this is a trademark of Zimmer, which we hear again in the cue REMOVE LANGDON mainly electronic with piano laced throughout this is a pulsating and tense track that switches from low and sombre sounding moments to action fuelled peaks. The highlight of the score me is track number 16, LIFE MUST HAVE IT’S MYSTERIES, again this is a gradual builder of od cue, piano once again opens the cue, strings again are added and underline and punctuate, what sounds like synth woodwind is then introduced but soon give way to strings which launch into a full working of what is one of the core themes of the soundtrack, solo violin is then introduced above the strings and percussive elements lend their support as choir too steps into the musical arena, the cue building and gaining momentum until the strings, choir, solo violin and also percussion are performing in unison bringing the piece to a crescendo and its end. Overall I have to say I enjoyed listening to this score, although as I did remark earlier there are a few moments that I found a little hard on the ear. But this taken into account INFERNO is certainly worth a listen.