Klaus Badelt

K-19: The Widowmaker [Original Motion Picture Score]

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Klaus Badelt, who has contributed to such big-budget epics as Gladiator and Pearl Harbor without taking a main composer credit, finally gets his head on K-19: The Widowmaker, the Harrison Ford-starring story of Russia's first nuclear submarine, and he turns in a superior effort. It helps that he is using an established orchestra, the Kirov, which knows its way around the kinds of romantic classics he draws from. It also helps that his subject matter and the film's tone support such a traditional approach. Finally, on the soundtrack album, the music is allowed to develop more logically than it usually gets to onscreen because Badelt has arranged his main themes into a four-part "Suite for Orchestra and Chorus in G Minor" that runs nearly 16 minutes. Even in the more conventional cues that follow, Badelt is allowed fairly lengthy segments; the climactic "Missile Launch -- The Rescue" runs a full ten minutes. He uses the time to come up with majestic and melodic neo-classical music that seems as likely to work in the concert hall as in the movie theater. Meanwhile, the eight minutes given to Richard Einhorn for "Reactor Selections From 'Voices of Light'" allows him to use a chorus and Julia Migenes as soloist. The result is a cut above the usual orchestral soundtrack album, highlighting a score that sounds Oscar worthy.

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