SOUNDTRACK REVIEW by Andrew Klay – The Village (2004)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Composer: James Newton Howard
Violin Soloist: Hilary Hahn

This score is one of James Newton Howard’s finest, and probably his most unique. Taking you on a musical journey into the film’s setting and time period, breathtaking violin solos performed by Hilary Hahn almost become a character, revolving around the female protagonist Ivy Walker, the embodiment of innocence.

Howard commented that although she was only 24 years old, he was already a big fan of Hahn, and selected her for her youthful nature and similarities to Ivy in the film. She brought a special quality to the score that no doubt came from her own experience, which beautifully complements this timeless story.

Director M. Night Shyamalan admits that the music strongly impacted the film’s emotional value, taking it in a completely different direction than originally intended. What began as a suspense/emotional thriller soon became a love story, as was realized early on in the post-production process. Shyamalan told Howard to scrap everything he had written and give the music a more tender emotional focus.

Brass and percussion are kept to a minimum, and are appropriately reserved for the most intense sequences. The majority of the music consists of violin solo against a background of strings, winds, and piano, executed with striking simplicity.

The Village symbolizes purity, innocence, unconditional love, and the will to live that resides within each of us. James Newton Howard’s masterful score absolutely does justice to those immortal themes.


“The Gravel Road”, the theme to the movie “The Village”. By James Newton-Howard.
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Links to purchase this soundtrack:

More on recording the “Village” score:
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Hilary Hahn on the recording process for a film:
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