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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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Works Details

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