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Soundtrack Review

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Soundtrack from the Apple Original Film


Composer: Martin Phipps
Label: Milan Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 22 November 2023

Milan Records releases the original soundtrack for Napoleon with music by composer Martin Phipps. Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte's relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed...

Napoleon sees the first collaboration between director Ridley Scott and composer Martin Phipps. For the project Scott wanted the music to reflect Napoleon’s persona as an outsider from Corsica, with Phipps incorporating traditional Corsican choirs, Ensemble Organum and Ensemble Spartimu, across the score. This emphasis on authenticity extends to the score’s instrumentation, with Phipps employing rougher, folk instruments like the accordion and hurdy-gurdy, as well as a piano once owned by Napoleon himself to capture the iconic ruler’s origins while creating a distinct soundscape for the film.

This is more than a score. What Phipps delivers is a musical representation of the French emperor and military commander in a way that really resonates with the listener. The score itself is a living, breathing history lesson, incorporating sounds of the time and era as well as symbolically embodying the great man himself.

It works so well as a standalone collection of themes that it's pretty much a classical music album in its own right. The themes are engaging and a delight to revisit. What more could you want from a soundtrack?


Darren Rea

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