Various Artists

Ironclad [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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If anything, the word "ironclad" probably suggests the Civil War to an American citizen with a memory for high-school history class, referring to the first naval battle between ironclad ships, the Monitor and the Merrimack. Director Jonathan English is thinking of a civil war in his film Ironclad, but he has a different one in mind. About 600 years earlier, and in England, he is concerned with a British conflict in the wake of the Magna Carta, the first version of a constitution that limited the power of the monarch, though not without his resistance. Composer Lorne Balfe accordingly has introduced some 13th century elements into his orchestral score intended to accompany the fighting and the loving in the story. Lone violins play minor-key themes; tribal drums keep up martial tempos; and, especially, wordless choirs add haunting themes in the manner of Gregorian chant. Balfe also recognizes that some of his warriors are just back from the Crusades, and occasionally adds a Middle Eastern flavor here and there. Of course, these are just the particular distinguishing details; there is swordplay to be underscored here, and Balfe often supports the action with music that isn't so much "ironclad" as "heavy metal," in a Middle Ages kind of way.

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