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