To celebrate this event, we offer you two articles:
1 – A review of the new release (this article), which will inform you what’s new in the La-La Land edition;
2 – A long and detailed cue-by-cue analysis of the whole score as it appears (or would have appeared) in the film while also taking into account the new score presentation released today by La-La Land Records. Access this article by our collaborator Kjell Neckebroeck by clicking on the image below :
For further insight into the genesis of Glory, the differences that arose between James Horner and director Edward Zwick during the composition of the score and the pressure on the composer following the decision to bring a choir from New York to Los Angeles, we invite you to look forward to the planned 2022 release of our book on James Horner. You can find more information about this project at the bottom of this page.
What is in this new edition?
The first disc features the new presentation of the score, 13 minutes longer than the original 1989 presentation offered on disc 2. The new presentation is followed by all the source cues—mostly military marches arranged by James Horner for the film—while the original 1989 presentation on disc 2 is followed by alternate tracks.
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If you want to keep the pleasure of discovery while listening to the album, do not click on the studded area and go directly to the end of the article.
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Some notes on the sound quality:
Glory—the score, the story and the photography–exude a somewhat misty quality. The music does not sound bright and sparkling as in The Mask of Zorro (1998), but rather ethereal, as evidenced by the voices. The orchestrations are seemingly rudimentary yet broad and dense. While the original album caught this misty quality quite well, it was somewhat lacking in vibrancy and clarity. CD 1 brings more clarity and dynamics as well as a little more depth to the sound palette. The remastering of the original album on CD 2 is more subtle, yet there is noticeably more clarity. On some of the tracks the difference is more pronounced, such as "The Year of Jubilee", which sounds a good deal more lively. Drawing a comparison from photography, it's as if the processing was applied to certain exposed areas but not elsewhere; the colors are heightened but not across the entire spectrum. It's a science. Glory was already beautiful, and after the work Mike Matessino did on it, it has become truly sublime.
Jim Titus’s booklet is a work of beauty. It is one of the most beautiful to date, right up there with the 2015 edition of Braveheart.
Jeff Bond’s comments delve into the genesis of the film and its shoot on the first eight pages, followed by an analysis of the score on the next 15 pages.
Should you buy this new edition?
With its new, more varied presentation of the score, its seven completely new minutes, its ten minutes of exciting alternative versions to discover, an improved sound, this new edition has many assets. The big highlight is to be able to discover the fabulous "The Battle of Grimball's Landing" and the amazing "Charging Fort Wagner (Alternate)", which add a new color to this score. These two pieces show James Horner's musical vision for the battles of Glory, before Edward Zwick had the last word… The discovery of these two pieces alone may justify the purchase of this new edition, in addition to the many qualities and contributions described throughout this article.
If you enjoy Glory, do not hesitate a moment: this edition will have you dive back into one of James Horner's most beautiful works in a new perspective.
Glory is a score that presents a unique concept in the composer's body of work. Except for four cues—the reception at the parents' house, the ten lashes of “The Whipping”, the sacking of the town of Darien, and the climactic charge—the score is a continuous sequence of three themes that are never orchestrated in quite the same way:
the military line "Blow the horn";
the soldier's conscience (Glory theme);
the melody that speaks to the 54th's trials and tribulations as well as to their accomplishments.
These themes are not linked to any specific character, but to concepts and emotions.
This link gives you access to an infographic based on the 2021 edition, showing the evolution of the themes throughout the movie’s storyline.
Many thanks to MV Gerhard and Neil S. Bulk for giving us the opportunity to write this article.
Since you are here, know that our association James Horner Film Music is currenly deeply involved in four important projects created in collaboration with the composer's estate:
The writing and publication of the definitve biography on the composer and his career
The production of a documentary with brand new and exclusive footage
The creation of a CD album with unpublished works
The planning and organisation of a series of concerts
But we won't be able to accomplish these projects without you. Help us preserve and promote the legacy and life of James Horner. Join our adventurous journey today on our Patreon page.