- Composed by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe
- Provident / 2013 / 56m
A miniseries from the History Channel, The Bible has largely been panned by critics but it’s the sort of thing that a lot of people will watch no matter what. Despite seeming to have a lavish budget, evidently there wasn’t much left for the music, which is almost entirely synthetic and credited to Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, with vocal performances from Lisa Gerrard. The composers seem to have taken their inspiration at least in part from the music Zimmer wrote for that other great chronicle of Christian doctrine and ideals, The Da Vinci Code, with a number of tracks appearing to be offshoots from that score’s wonderful “Chevaliers de Sangreal”; some of the others appear to be offshoots from The Thin Red Line‘s even more wonderful “Journey to the Line”; yet more appear to be offshoots from mid-1990s Media Ventures action scores.
The trouble is, they’re not really very good offshoots, and the incredibly cheap recordings sound like they might be passable improvised synth mock-ups of the score rather than the score itself. Gerrard’s vocals work well enough in places but they’re rather stale now, a decade after they were all de rigeur in film music. Apart from the hideously cheap sound, the opening cue “Faith” makes for a reasonably engaging – if unmemorable – start, but after that things drop off very quickly and it’s very hard to take anything that sounds this cheap very seriously and I’m afraid it’s virtually impossible to keep from laughing at “In the Beginning”, which offers a power anthem for God – surely it can’t be serious? (Not for the first time of late I am left wondering if this is really the work of a professional film composer.) This is very silly music and seems at best to have been hugely misguided. It’s quite an evolutionary journey (if I dare mention evolution in a review of The Bible) that leads from Alfred Newman’s The Robe or Elmer Bernstein’s The Ten Commandments or Miklós Rózsa’s King of Kings to music like this; one that doesn’t really bear thinking about, so it’s probably best to end now and listen to one of those instead.