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The Last Airbender [Soundtrack]

Audio Samples

>Howard, James Newton : The Last Airbender, film score

Album Summary

>Howard, James Newton : The Last Airbender, film score
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Personnel: Stuart Michael Thomas (programming).

Recording information: Streisand Scoring Stage, Sony Pictures Studios.

Director M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender is based on the cartoon TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender, with the first word of the title presumably lopped off to avoid confusion with the 2009 blockbuster of that name. Shyamalan is known for his unsettling mystery films, which would seem to make this children's fantasy something of a change of pace for him. But James Newton Howard's extensive orchestral score suggests that it may not be as far in tone from the usual Shyamalan thriller than might be expected. Howard has been given full rein, employing a 119-member ensemble spread across a Hollywood scoring stage to play his full-bodied music. There's nothing particularly innovative about it, but the early cues (which, on the soundtrack album are unusually long, starting with the 11-minute "Airbender Suite") have a slow, ominous feel that wouldn't have been inappropriate to one of Shyamalan's creepy earlier movies. Martial action music, with lots of pummeling percussion, follows, and "The Blue Spirit" owes something to John Williams' theme for Darth Vader from Star Wars. Things come to a head with "The Spirit World," which seems to mark the dramatic climax of the picture, and the later music is calmer and sweeter, notably "We Are Now the Gods." Howard revs up a bit for the final track, "Flow Like Water," but the music never enters a really triumphant mood. The Last Airbender may have employed Star Wars creator George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic special effects company, but Howard takes a more downcast tone with the music than Williams did with Star Wars, no doubt in keeping with Shyamalan's darker vision. ~ William Ruhlmann


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>Howard, James Newton : The Last Airbender, film score
  • Performers: Marlow Fisher (Viola); Julia Gigante (Violin); Paul Cohen (Cello); Donald Foster (Clarinet); Jeanne Skrocki (Violin); Timothy Landauer (Cello); Aimee Kreston (Violin); Daniel Kelley (Horn); Nina Eutuhov (Violin); Irina Voloshina (Violin); Searmi Park (Violin); Alan Grunfeld (Violin); Neil Samples (Violin); Trevor Handy (Cello); Serena McKinney (Violin); Shawn Mann (Viola); Katia Popov (Violin); Ralph Williams (Clarinet); Allen Savedoff (Bassoon); Andrew Malloy (Trombone); Jay Rosen (Violin); Cassandra Richburg (Viola); Armen Anassan (Violin); Kevin Connolly (Violin); Cecelia Tsan (Cello); Jim Walker (Flute); Kim Scholes (Cello); Richard Todd (Horn); Michael Fisher (Percussion); Marc Sazer (Violin); Gina Coletti (Viola); Bob Zimmitti (Percussion); Armen Ksajikian (Cello); Tom Boyd (Oboe); Stuart Clark (Clarinet); Luke Maurer (Viola); Tamara Hatwan (Violin); Dave Everson (Horn); Matthew Funes (Viola); David Speltz (Cello); Steven Becknell (Horn); Heather Clark (Flute); Jon Lewis (Trumpet); Christine Ermacoff (Cello); Miwako Watanabe (Violin); Dimitrie Leivici (Violin); Josefina Vergara (Violin); Thomas Diener (Viola); Lisa Sutton (Violin); Dave Walther (Viola); Roger Wilkie (Violin); Sarah Thornblade (Violin); Jacqueline Brand (Violin); Robert Brophy (Viola); Natalie Leggett (Violin); Roland Kato (Viola); Jennie Hansen (Viola); Keith Greene (Viola); Bruce Dukov (Violin); Marcia Dickstein (Harp); Brian Dembow (Viola); Rose Corrigan (Bassoon); Antony Cooke (Cello); Roberto Cani (Violin); Stephen Erdody (Cello); Darius Campo (Violin); Peter Limonick (Percussion); William Booth (Trombone); Dennis Karmazyn (Cello); Alan Estes (Percussion); Rafael Rishik (Violin); Darrin McCann (Viola); Alma Fernandez (Viola); Endre Granat (Violin); Haim Shtrum (Violin); Andrew Duckles (Viola); Denyse Buffum (Viola); Tereza Stanislav (Violin); William Reichenbach (Trombone); Doug Tornquist (Tuba); Paula Hochhalter (Cello); Phillip Levy (Violin); Kenneth Munday (Bassoon); Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick (Cello); James Thatcher (Horn); David Duke (Horn); Brian O'Connor (Horn); Steven Gordon (Viola); Timothy Morrison (Trumpet); Michael O'Donovan (Bassoon); Malcolm McNabb (Trumpet); Andrew Shulman (Cello); George Thatcher (Trombone); Leslie Reed (Oboe); Sara Parkins (Violin); Jim Self (Tuba); Geri Rotella (Flute); Gayle Levant (Harp); Barbara Northcutt (Oboe); Robert Berg (Viola); Michael Nowak (Viola); Kenneth Yerke (Violin); Victoria Miskolczy (Viola)
  • Conductor: Pete Anthony
  • Running Time: 64 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary