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