Few of Zimmer’s scores are as memorable as the one he wrote for Gladiator back in 2000. Not only does it create an enduring backdrop for director Ridley Scott’s epic, it also lends itself amazingly well to independent listening. Combining a traditional orchestra with more ancient, indigenous instruments and the vocals of Lisa Gerrard, Zimmer’s prowess is evident all the way. It’s not hard to see why this score was nominated for an Academy Award.
The Battle is a massive, unrelenting, nine minute piece of pure musical genius. It’s explosive, tense, and evocative – one of those cues that gets your blood rushing and makes you want to lead an army into battle (or something like that). The Might of Rome – coinciding with the gladiators’ first appearance in the arena – is another effective action cue, and is quickly followed by the more subdued Strength and Honor. Next up is Slaves to Rome, a short but heroic track, featuring an impressive mixture of horns, drums, and strings. Am I Not Merciful? is probably the most dramatic piece on the album, and really begins to soar towards the end with an impressive choral climax. Honor Him is a beautiful variation on the main theme – and it packs even more of a punch if you seen the film. Also of note is the final cue, Now We Are Free, featuring the voice talents of Lisa Gerrard.