In the wake of hisSixth Sensetriumph, young director M. Night Shyamalan shrewdly marketed himself as a marquee draw, a thriller auteur in the vein of Hitchcock and DePalma. In the process he's also run headlong into one of Hollywood's truest adages: … see full wiki
'The Village' was panned pretty harshly in critical circles, but whatever you think of the film, James Newton Howard's score for it is a beautiful piece of work. It lends a haunting, lyrical quality to the film, and it is wonderful to listen to by itself, whether or not you like or have even seen the movie.
While there are a couple pieces in the score that are a little more high-octane in terms of suspense, most of the music is very low-key. Still suspenseful, even spooky at times, but in a very understated and thoughtful way. In some ways similar to Howard's score for 'Signs', which also used repeated rhythms and themes throughout in different ways, the music for 'The Village' differs from the standard "scary movie" score by having pieces which establish a real emotional depth and presence. 'The Village' is a film about love and loss, and much of the music expresses those themes perfectly.
A big part of how the music gets to the depths of emotion is the solo violin performances of Hilary Hahn, present to some extent in almost every piece. From the opening strains of "Noah Visits," the first piece on the CD, her violin speaks the language of the heart and draws the listener into a beautiful world of haunting music, inescapable and compelling. I am amazed by her versatility here. From the fast rhythmic notes of "The Gravel Road" to the high strains of "I Cannot See His Color" to the final, bittersweet tones of "The Vote," Hahn's violin creates a steady thread through the whole score, unifying it and making it unique at the same time. I've listened to several of Hahn's classical performances as well, but I have to say that of what I've heard, her performance for 'The Village' may be her most unique and most compelling yet.
The combination of James Newton Howard's compositions and Hilary Hahn's lush performance have created some beautiful music for 'The Village'. Whether you love the movie or hate it, or even if you're just looking for some rich orchestral music with a beautiful violin performance, this score is well worth owning and listening to many times over.