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