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Days Of Heaven by Ennio Morricone (Review)

posted Sep 14, 2011, 2:23 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Jan 6, 2012, 9:40 AM ]

In what is definitely the most important score release of the year we finally have the definitive release of Ennio Morricone's masterpiece. Days Of Heaven is director Terrence Malick's second feature and some may argue his best film. It's also surprisingly his shortest clocking in at 93 minutes even though it took a good year to edit. Malick's first film didn't have an original score, so this would be his first time working with a film composer. The end result, while not conventional, did leave us with one of the greatest scores in film history.

Now, I could write for days about Morricone and Malick (but I won't). Malick happens to be tied for my favorite director and Morricone in my eyes is the greatest film composer to have ever lived. The way Morricone's music accentuates this tale about rationality failing to overcome emotions is dreamlike and sublime. If the idea of heaven were to have a score it would be this. However, the score is multilayered with many motifs. Morricone foreshadows tragedy with the music so when things finally erupt all hell does indeed break loose. Now, Malick did do some shifting around. Almost all the music you hear in the final film wasn't really intended to be where it was. Morricone did give him the rare permission to move things around. The only cue he wanted to stay put was the fire scene, and Malick kept it where Morricone wanted it. I think the music functions flawlessly in the film and it's due to the quilt-like nature of the score and Malick's signature flow of narrative. Malick still opted for a few classical pieces that sort of anchored his themes, but this is indeed a film driven by an original score unlike The New World or The Tree Of Life. The ending is haunting and the score reflects it. The music leaves a lasting impression as we are taken to the credits. The score is the very definition of a masterpiece.

For this release FSM may have put out their best CD yet. Previously only a few tracks were available on a combo album from GSM that included Two Mules For Sister Sara and a handful of tracks from Days Of Heaven. This 2-disc set includes the original 1978 soundtrack as well as the music in film order. The second disc houses pretty much all the music for the film as recorded including stuff that never made the final cut. It is indeed as complete a package as one could hope for. All remastered to the highest quality of course.

This monumental release is cause for celebration and is a must buy for any filmmaker, film buff or score aficionado. It's very rare to see a release like this for a score with such a monumental significance. Now here's hoping one day we get something like this for Hans Zimmer's score to The Thin Red Line.