To call Hans Zimmer’s score for Sherlock Holmes evocative would be an understatement: it nails Doyle’s creation on the head. In fact, you could easily get a good idea of Holmes’ character just by listening to the music; which is a pretty impressive achievement in my book. Zimmer successfully meshes an odd blend of instruments – including the mandolin, fiddle, accordion, and dulcimer – and the result is a simple yet complex score that alternately conveys subtlety, intensity, mystery, and even comedy.
The opening track, Discombobulate, is sheer genius. Starting out quiet, it explodes at the 21 second mark, and develops into one of the best and most memorable themes I’ve ever encountered in a motion picture. I Never Woke Up In Handcuffs Before is bizarre and fun, predominated by an ever-so-slightly-out-of-tune fiddle that whines and squeals along with maniacal glee; while the following cue, My Mind Rebels At Stagnation, communicates a sense of impending danger. Ah, Putrefaction is sad and thoughtful, but lovely nonetheless, especially towards the end. Then there’s my favorite track, Psychological Recovery, which could be considered the climax of the entire score. It takes off at a run, fiddles chugging, and darts from one exciting section to another for a full 18 minutes. Finally comes Catatonic, a piece that brings the album to a close in an enthusiastic and thrilling manner.