IMAX 3-D movies are considered as the future of cinema. The groundbreaking visual technology allows a director to expand the experience beyond unexpected levels. It was mainly used for documentaries but recently, feature films also take the advantage of the new experience with films such as The Polar Express being released simultaneously in ordinary and IMAX theaters. Siegfried & Roy was a documentary about the live of the two famous magicians. The story of their journey from post-war Germany to Las Vegas was executed in a rather silly way with weird visuals and a cryptic narration by both magicians interrupted with some show numbers. The forgettable film did not stick in the mind of the audience for too long and even failed to be an informative documentary about the magicians.
Composer Alan Silvestri was no stranger to IMAX films when he composed the music for Siegfried & Roy in 1999. He already scored the IMAX short film "In Search for the Obelisk" in 1993, featuring a broad and adventurous main theme but his new IMAX movie score would put its predecessor to shame. It might be surprising that a film like Siegfried & Roy inspired one of Alan Silvestri's best scores to date in which he is showing all of his sheer musical brilliance within every single note. Many people will not know this score which is a real pity because the score is rich of ideas and melodies, broad and soaring with music that will bring you directly to heaven. Until that score in 1999, Alan Silvestri did not really compose anything comparable. Only the heavenly choir music from the finale of The Abyss (1989) or the epic orchestral bombast in Judge Dredd (1995) could equal the grand proportions of Siegfried & Roy at that time but none of these scores is as colourful as Siegfried & Roy. The score still remains unreleased but there are two bootleg versions of it, one without track titles and the end credits song "Grand Illusion" arranged by Alan Silvestri at the end and another bootleg which also contains Silvestri's unreleased score for What Women Want (2000). This review is based on the 'White' Cat version with the song.
The first track opens the score with a majestic orchestral bang accompanied by choir with a bit of percussion ending the opening as the music is shortly becoming quiet and suspenseful only to take off again in a strong passage for the horn section and trumpets. After this thrilling opening, the score is getting quiet and a clarinet solo is suddenly hinting the grail theme from John William's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Certainly just a little nod to this great composer and his work. The music slowly builds up with horns and trumpets, going into the first and very elegant string performance of the score's main theme with a broad brass fanfare at the end before it is getting quiet again with a flute solo. Afterwards, the music is becoming suspenseful again with quietly floating strings and harp until the brass is rising with a deep rumbling percussion and the horns take over again accompanied by whirling strings and ethereal choir slowly becoming darker, exploding in a breathtaking series of fanfares and the main theme at the end of the track. And this was only the first track! The next 12 tracks offer an orchestral firework which could be best described as a Silvestri-Concert.
"Track 2" continues where track 1 stopped, with soaring orchestral music but this time introducing two secondary themes of the score, an orchestral rendition of the first secondary theme followed by the introduction of the 'magic-theme' performed by choir. This 'magic-theme' can be heard in the film whenever there is a foreshadowing of the fate of the magicians and it was also used for the opening company logos. The composer is revisiting his broad choral music from The Abyss here followed by a very emotional dramatic string and woodwinds passage. Another series of fanfares is suddenly exploding with majestic bombast at the end of the track. Innocent and calm music for strings, woodwinds and flutes follows in "track 3" while the themes are interacting with each other which represents the childhood of both magicians. In "track 4", a march for militaristic drums follows which goes into a bold and dark fanfare with thrilling dissonant strings and horns accompanied by a ghostly screaming choir. After a moment of suspense, the main theme is exploding at the end of the track.
However, the real highlight of the score has yet to come with "track 5". What a breathtaking piece of excellent and glorious music. It starts off quietly with the innocent feeling from "track 3" until the string slowly building up into a dark fanfare, followed by a ingeniously composed march with deep horn solos. The march goes into something entirely different: Suddenly, the music starts sweeping into a beautiful piano duet which goes into a choral explosion of epic proportions. It sounds as if Alan Silvestri wanted to reach heaven and it is as good as the choral explosions from the Abyss... no, ignore that! It is even better... it is one of those pieces that leaves no room for a comparison because the pure genius of the composer is shining through every note. After the choral outburst the music is slowly calming down with a beautiful string passage only to go into another breathtaking cue for brass and orchestra playing at enormous speed with dark, collapsing brass fanfares and, yet again, a variation of the main theme. The question about the source of inspiration for all this musical beauty remains a mystery. If you look at the scenes in the film, they really are not as dramatic or glorious which is even more an example for Alan Silvestri's enormous talent to write great music even if the movie lacks of inspiration.
Relaxing music opens "track 6" which goes into heavily pounding Silvestri action music during its second half. This stuff is really exciting especially due to the magnificent performance of the brass. I can imagine this piece must have been a "tour de force" for the orchestra. At the end of the action, there is even a hint of the jungle percussion from Predator 2 followed by the main theme performed by strings. "Track 7" is another fun piece, starting with relaxing pan flute music and slight jungle percussion, representing the love for nature from the magicians. It is almost a little bit new age but more tuneful due to the pan flute. The second half goes from the relaxing music into a hip "Las Vegas" big band cue. Dramatic music for woodwinds, low piano and strings opens the next track. The "magic-theme" appears again performed by choir like in "track 2". This track also features Alan Silvestri's first usage of oriental instruments which gives the music a middle eastern feeling. He would return to such orchestrations two years later in his score for the adventure hit The Mummy Returns (2001).
A funny and swinging jazz piece can be heard in "track 9", showing Alan Silvestri's musical roots as a jazz musician. The next "track 10" begins quiet and goes into a tension-building variation of the main theme before the music becomes adventurous and exciting again. "Track 11" features various full orchestra variations of the main theme. The percussive action music from "track 6" and some relaxing music reappear in "track 12" together with Silvestri's last usage of the "moaning-brass". He used this sound creation most prominently in Predator 2 (1990) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) and after the brief usage in Siegfried & Roy he abandoned it. The last orchestral score track features a dramatically moaning choir which is reminiscent of the choir passage used in his Forrest Gump suite. After more majestic and glorious music for full orchestra, the Alan Silvestri Concert (a.k.a. Siegfrieg & Roy) is coming to an end with a big orchestral bang. The song "Grand Illusion" (not featured on the Mirage Music bootleg) was arranged by Alan Silvestri and is actually an exciting piece if you ignore the dumb vocals but it has not much to do with the score. Parts of the score were used in the trailers for The Polar Express (2004) which was also scored by Alan Silvestri with a similar approach.
Review by Andreas Creutzburg
Score as heard in the film: 90%
Score as heard on CD: 92%
The bootleg CD of Siegfried & Roy features the complete score as heard in the film in excellent sound quality. No track names are given in the track listing. A well presented official release of this great score would be very much welcomed.
Presentation by the Label: Bootleg
This score is a real must-have if you like big and majestic orchestral music with a lot of themes. There is not one boring moment within these 51 minutes of score. Buy it, steal it, whatever you do... get it! It is a real Silvestri-Concert that will touch you from start to finish.
01. Track 01 - 6:22
02. Track 02 - 3:34
03. Track 03 - 3:03
04. Track 04 - 1:56
05. Track 05 - 4:16
06. Track 06 - 4:45
07. Track 07 - 4:21
08. Track 08 - 5:12
09. Track 09 - 1:47
10. Track 10 - 3:11
11. Track 11 - 4:27
12. Track 12 - 3:41
13. Track 13 - 4:4814. Track 14 - 2:14
Review: Siegfried & Roy - The Magic Box (1999)
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Label: White Cat (Bootleg)
Catalogue Nr.: Bootleg