You're Captain Jack Sparrow: smart, savvy, a demon with the eyeliner
and the best damn pirate we've ever seen.
And only a litte crazy. Savvy?
One of the biggest disappointments of 2004 for me was the removal of Gabriel Yared's score for Wolfgang Peterson's Troy. The creation of this score was extensively covered in some of the magazines I read before the rejection, and the amount of research and construction of the music, and given how interesting I had found Yared's work to be recently (in some cases, such as The English Patient, more interesting than the actual films themselves). Unfortunately, due to a fateful test screening, where the score was termed by the audience as "old fashioned" (and probably due much more to post-production anxiety), at the last minute Yared's score, which he had labored on for a year, was replaced by a typically bland James Horner score.
Horner's score was so awful, even people who are not generally inclined to notice film music mentioned to me that they thought that the score from Troy was pretty bad. As is his standard practice, Horner used several motives from Sergei Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky for the umpteenth time, some of his own worn out themes, and overlayed it with that annoying "moaning woman" that has become de riguer since Gladiator. It wasn't enough to replace Yared's work with something rushed out at the last minute, the rush job itself was a work of unusual hackness.
I have finally had a chance to hear Yared's score for Troy beyond the samples that he had posted on his website a few months ago and it is magnificent. The truth is that it is, indeed, old-fashioned. In fact, it's so old fashioned that it sounds like it would be fitting for a movie about the Trojan War. Yared combines a traditional orchestra and choir with an expanded percussion section and Mediterranean instrumentation, but this isn't a "world music" score the way that, say, The Last Temptation of Christ or Gladiator are (that is to say, defined by elements that sound like world music... a jazz score for a film sounds like jazz, but is rarely improvised the way that real jazz is). Instead, Yared uses these elements to give the score a specific flavor, paying respects to the location and era the film is set in, but relying primarily upon traditional methods to convey the drama of the scene.
If there is another composer whose work I would compare this to, it would be Miklós Rózsa, partly for the epic scale of the piece and the research Yared did (Rózsa was one of the most academically oriented of all of the Golden Age composers), but also because the harmonic language that Yared uses has a lot in common with the music Rózsa wrote for the film noir thrillers Double Indemnity and The Killers. The thematic material is lush and has quite a bit of weight - perhaps a bit too much for this film, which was entertaining but not terribly deep.
This recording sounded completely acoustic, so I have no idea if this palette was going to be expanded upon any further, and I have no idea how some of this music would have fit the visuals. I can say, however, that purely as a musical experience, what is there is outstanding. When a composer, particularly one as idiosyncratic as Yared manages to bridge their personal style with an established genre, the results are often greater than the sum of its parts, and that is certainly the case here. Yared had created a new masterpiece for Troy, and the fact that we'll never hear this music in the context for which it was written... the fact that most people will never get to hear it at all... is something Wolfgang Peterson should be ashamed of himself for.