The Magnificent Seven (2016) OST Review
Music Rating: 4/5
Review by Neil Mc Allister
Composers: James Horner and Simon Franglen
The unintended swansong of James Horner’s career as a composer before his untimely death, the 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven score is the work of three different people; Elmer Bernstein’s original material from 1960 film, James Horner and his friend Simon Franglen who finished Horner’s remaining work for the 2016 version. Nonetheless, it remains a solid score, taking elements from Bernstein original and mixing it in Horner’s own style.
“Rose Creek Oppression” is layered with various chimes and ethnic woodwinds, having a vary diverse instrumentation as one might expect from an Ennio Morricone score. A female choir gently sings the main motifs of the score (heard in other pieces such as “Takedown” with the Mexican trumpet motif peppered throughout. The violins take over from the female vocals to give more strength and sorrow to the mood of the piece.
“Seven Angels Of Vengeance” has a more textbook action score style, using a string section ostinato (later heard in “Faraday’s ride” but adds some obscure percussion that sounds quite reminiscent of the Joker theme from “The Dark Knight” (it’s later heard again in “Sheriff Demoted”) The brass section eventually gives a sense a triumph to this foreboding piece of music, but it soon goes into even darker territory with distant and rather random trumpet playing and ambient noises.
“Devil In The Church” is one of the creepiest pieces of music featured, and is the theme of main baddie Bartholomew Bogue, whose chilling presence is helped hugely by this piece. A single banjo string is played in an uncomfortably high and detuned register throughout and is an unsettling distraction amongst the already eerie melodic choices in string section. The musical features once again heard in clever irony in “House Of Judgement”, which is followed by some pleasant female vocals to bring a feeling of relief.
“So Far So Good” is a constantly changing piece that starts off with low-register bells, timpani rolls and some downtrodden-sounding tubas. It eventually moves into it’s main theme on the string section, starting off rather melancholy, then into a more brisk and hopeful mood. The piano briefly enters before the piece goes into something sounding not unlike The Fellowship theme from The Lord Of The Rings, before once again going into a more brisk vibe, but this time more serious.
“Army Invades Town” is filled with loads of intense moments, starting of with random fiddle playing amongst the string and brass section. It eventually enters a militaristic style of an ostinato, with the string and brass section out in full force (the descending violin arpeggio being of it’s strongest parts). It later uses some underlying synth sounds as well, surprisingly. It switches from being foreboding and triumphant in tone more than once, keeping the viewer/listener engaged from start to finish.
Elmer Berstein’s iconic theme from the 1960 version is played during the closing credits, and remains relatively untouched in terms of major changes. Not much more needs to be said. It’s perhaps not the most fitting way to put a bookend on Horner’s career as a composer, what with it being a re-working of another composer’s work, but it still does justice otherwise.
A magnificent composer throughout much of his career. R.I.P James Horner.
Written by Neil Mc Allister
Neil is a Graduate of BIMM Dublin and Griffith College where he studied music and sound design. He is also a freelance composer and musician.