"See the film first or read the book? Itís a common conundrum. But how often
would you stop to consider whether to purchase the soundtrack before the cinema ticket? It
doesnít seem to matter. If youíve seen the movie, the music can be revisited for
pure sonic enjoyment, and if you hear the soundtrack first, well it wonít reveal the
But a John Williams score does tell a story. True, he is the master of creating music
that supports the imagery and emotional sweep of a film, but his work is crafted with such
a fine sensibility that in itself it paints pictures, suggests characters and takes us on
a dramatic journey.
I havenít yet seen The Patriot. But having listened to the soundtrack, I feel
Iíve been along for the ride. From The Family Farm through Preparing For Battle and
The Return Home, each cue is fleshed out by Williamsí meticulous orchestrations:
violins evoking harmony and reflection, rousing marches for the call to arms, strident
brass anthems for the heroism of battle.
Simple but effective symbolism guides us along the way. A tolling bell for The Death of
Thomas, feverish fife phrases and a hint of The British Grenadiers March to deposit us in
the midst of the Redcoatsí muskets.
My favourite track is To Charleston, a diversely orchestrated cue, full of rhythmic,
whimsical phrasing that serves as the link from pastoral serenity to the savage nobility
Opening and closing the CD is The Patriot title theme (and reprise). Commencing with a
poignant solo violin over sparsely plucked guitar, and building to a crescendo of
triumphant brass, it introduces the melodic motifs that anchor the score, and serves as a
compelling overture to the musical narrative.
There is hardly a John Williams soundtrack that isnít worth owning and The Patriot
is no exception. The only question is: Before or after you see the film? Iíll leave
that up to you."