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Hidalgo | The Score
James Newton Howard

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Those of us familiar with Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement Award recipient James Newton Howard's composing are aware he excels in symphonic fantasy and capturing the genre of a film - completely - with his scores. Here with Hidalgo he manages to conjure up the beauty of the often epic-like film in a 45 minute 14 track cd. As in the film, there are delightful mixings of cultures; Arabian music with hints of American Indian with epicaly drawn violins and pouting cellos in accompaniment with ouds and bouzouki while a Cowboy's fiddle snuck in to the hodown for a tinker.

I've highlighted a few selection for an idea of what you're in for: Track 2, titled 'Don't Waste Our Money,' has an old 1960's cowboy movie film feel. It's plain old fun. Track 10, titled 'Montage', steals the work. It's a hunting multi influenced masterpiece that makes one want to pack up the hounds and head into the woods for an adventure. Me at least. The most forboding, down right galloping sinister musical tinkling appears in track 11, 'The Trap.' Aptly named, the piece is so descriptive you wouldn't even have to see the film to know there's trouble a foot and images of concealed faces and rope cutting pop into mind...Peter Lorre may show up in your mind's casbah!

Once again Howard delivers a stand alone cd of compelling music. This is a must for any soundtrack collector. Stunning.

The only thing missing from the soundtrack, for me, was the medicine man Fool's Crow song Miyelo or " It Is I" performed by Viggo Mortensen. While completely different in style and structure, and not from "the score," this Lakota song had such a strong moment in the film it was sad to not have the opportunity to investigate it again. I learned a bit about the honor behind the song during an interview with Viggo Mortensen, and wanted to listen again with a more knowing ear. We'll all just have to wait for the Hidalgo dvd. Buy it!

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