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Composed by
JAMES HORNER

Rating
****

Album running time
74:31

Tracks
1: A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics (4:55)
2: Playing a Game of "Go!" (3:34)
3: Looking for the Next Great Idea (3:02)
4: Creating "Governing Dynamics" (2:33)
5: Cracking the Russian Codes (3:22)
6: Nash Descends into Parcher's World (4:39)
7: First Drop-Off / First Kiss (5:15)
8: The Car Chase (2:24)
9: Alicia Discovers Nash's Dark World (8:29)
10: Real or Imagined? (5:47)
11: Of One Heart, Of One Mind (6:21)
12: Saying Goodbye to those you so Love (6:43)
13: Teaching Mathematics Again (3:16)
14: The Prize of One's Life... The Prize of One's Mind (3:02)
15: All Love Can Be (3:17)
16: Closing Credits (4:48)

Performed by
UNKNOWN ORCHESTRA
conducted by
JAMES HORNER
Vocals
CHARLOTTE CHURCH

Lyrics
WILL JENNINGS
Orchestrations
JAMES HORNER
RANDY KERBER

Engineered by
SIMON RHODES
Edited by
JIM HENRICKSON
Produced by
SIMON RHODES
JAMES HORNER

Released by
DECCA
Serial number
440 016 191-2

Artwork copyright (c) 2001 Universal Classics Group; review copyright (c) 2002 James Southall


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A BEAUTIFUL MIND

A Beautiful Score!
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL

James Horner's not been on such great form recently - his last few scores, like The Grinch, Enemy at the Gates and Bicentennial Man have not especially been all that good and have all suffered from his relentless drive to present his favourite few motifs to the public in as many recycled forms as he can. (Someone needs to tell him that recycling music doesn't help the environment in quite the same way as other forms as recycling.)

It's with great pleasure, therefore, that I discovered A Beautiful Mind, one of Horner's best scores in a few years. To get it out of the way first of all, the recycling is still in evidence and Bicentennial Man and Sneakers get frequent airings. With that in mind, it was difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at Ron Howard's recent interview in which he commended Horner for avoiding reusing his own material - "unlike most film composers."

However, Horner was reportedly greatly moved by Sylvia Nasar's biopic of John Forbes Nash, so when it was announced that Howard was to direct it Horner went after the movie - and, unsurprisingly, got it. His two real innovations for the score are firstly his use of five pianos and secondly the presence of singing angel Charlotte Church. Church's presence certainly adds emotional weight to several of the cues (though in reality the parts are so easy I fancy most schoolgirl choristers could have performed them just as well, and probably done it for a Snickers and a pack of chips - presumably Church's demands were somewhat higher).

Horner really delves deep into the mind of the complex individual who is the subject of the movie and the score is thoughtful, beautiful and very moving. While the usual Horner problem of the album being far too long is still difficult to escape, here there is more quality in the base material and far less simple rambling than in some of his other scores - that's not to say that the album wouldn't have been far superior if it had been half an hour shorter (it would), but it doesn't matter so much in this instance.

As well as her wordless performances, there is a song for Charlotte Church to get her perfect little teeth into, "All Love Can Be", with utterly banal, offensively poor lyrics by Will Jennings. Lovely song though. As a "bonus", the CD features a video interview with Horner and text-only interviews with him and Howard, which reveal little but do allow the viewer to roll around the floor in uncontrollable laughter at Horner's ill-advised attempt to grow a beard.

A Beautiful Mind is one of the strongest scores of 2001 and represents Horner doing what he does so well. Don't be surprised to see another Academy Award on his mantelpiece for this one.

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