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