Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl soundtrack is the official soundtrack album from the homonymous film. The album was released on July 22, 2003, by Walt Disney Records and contains selections of music from the movie's score. The music of the film and this album are both credited to composer Klaus Badelt and producer Hans Zimmer.
|1||Fog Bound||2:16||This track is heard at the beginning of the film, when the young Elizabeth meets Will Turner.|
|2||The Medallion Calls||1:53||This track plays when Captain Jack Sparrow drifts into Port Royal in his sinking boat.|
|3||The Black Pearl||2:16||This track plays after Jack saves Elizabeth and while he escapes the British.|
|4||Will & Elizabeth||2:08||This track plays during the fight between Will and Jack in the Blacksmith shop.|
|5||Swords Crossed||3:16||This track plays during Elizabeth's dinner with Barbossa, when she discovers the cursed pirates for the first time.|
|6||Walk the Plank||1:59||This track plays while Jack and Will are walking underwater with the boat, preparing to commandeer the Interceptor.|
|7||Barbossa is Hungry||4:06||This track is played during the battle between The Black Pearl and the Interceptor.|
|8||Blood Ritual||3:33||This track is played predominantly when Will and Jack commandeer the Interceptor.|
|9||Moonlight Serenade||2:09||This track plays when Will rescues Jack from being hanged.|
|10||To the Pirates' Cave!||3:31||This track plays during the climactic fight and when Jack kills Barbossa.|
|11||Skull and Crossbones||3:24||This track is played during the climatic battle near the close of the film. The very end plays when Will appears on The Black Pearl.|
|12||Bootstrap's Bootstraps||2:39||This track plays when the pirates attack the Dauntless.|
|13||Underwater March||4:12||The beginning of the track plays when the curse is lifted and the pirates are beaten, and the end plays during their underwater march.|
|14||One Last Shot||4:46||This track is played in the final scenes of the film.|
|15||He's a Pirate||1:30||This track is played at the beginning of the credits.|
Composer Alan Silvestri was originally hired to write the score for The Curse of the Black Pearl. However, due to creative differences between the producer Jerry Bruckheimer and him, Silvestri left the project and Gore Verbinski asked Hans Zimmer, with whom he had worked on The Ring, to step in. Zimmer declined to do the bulk of the composing, as he was busy scoring The Last Samurai, a project during which he claimed he had promised not to take any other assignments. As a result he referred Verbinski to Klaus Badelt, a relatively new composer who had been a part of Remote Control Productions (known as Media Ventures at the time) for three years.
Zimmer however ended up collaborating with Badelt to write most of the score's primary themes. Zimmer said he wrote most of the tunes in the space of one night, and then recorded them in an all-synthesized demo credited to him. This demo presents three of the score's themes and motifs, concluding with an early version of "He's A Pirate" which differs from the final cue and includes a development of a melody Zimmer wrote for the score to Drop Zone.) Since the schedule was very tight and the music was needed for the film in three weeks, seven other composers — Ramin Djawadi, James Dooley, Nick Glennie-Smith, Steve Jablonsky, Blake Neely, James McKee Smith, and Geoff Zanelli — were called upon to help orchestrate the music and write additional cues. The resulting score was recorded with a group of musicians, credited as the Hollywood Studio Symphony, over the course of four days. The short time frame demanded the use of a different recording studio for each session. The Metro Voices, a male choir, was recorded in London and added to the finished recordings.
For the soundtrack album, 43 minutes of the music was released with Klaus Badelt credited as the composer. The cues were edited for length, and minor changes to the mix were also made. For unknown reasons, the mixing of several cues are executed with gain levels so high that it causes distortion. This is noticeable particularly during the action cues and the reprise of the love theme in track 14, "One Last Shot". It is also noted that besides the first two cues, the tracks' generic names were unrelated to their contents. According to the official website of composer Geoff Zanelli, this was because the production "schedule was so short that [they] had to decide on the track names for the album packaging before the score was even written!"
Badelt was credited as the conductor on early batches of the disc, but it was actually conducted by Blake Neely.
For the most part, The Curse of the Black Pearl features simple orchestration. Counterpoint is rare; most of the louder music consists of melody, simple harmony, and rhythmic figures in the low brass and low strings. Sampled drum beats including tom-toms and various cymbals are used ubiquitously in such sections. A very low, rumbling bass line was also introduced into the mix to reinforce the cello and double basses. Quieter sections tend to rely either on the string section or on sound effects. Pan flute, possibly synthesized or sampled, and claves can be heard repeatedly in the eerier cues. One of the defining characteristics of this score's sound is the use of horn for melody. Nearly all of the score's louder sections feature the horns on the melody, frequently doubled by various string instruments.
Kingdom Hearts II
For the video game Kingdom Hearts II, which features a number of scenes based on the movie, composer Yoko Shimomura arranged a synthesized "He's a Pirate" to serve as the musical theme for all combat in the Port Royal world. This arrangement is identical in structure to the original cue, though a number of changes were made to the melody and chords.
The score received mixed reviews from critics. Christian Clemmensen of Filmtracks.com gave it one out of a possible five stars, criticizing its similarities to past Remote Control scores such as The Rock and Gladiator. He also criticized its lack of connections to the "swashbuckling" genre, stating, "The most disgraceful part of the pounding and shouting score for The Curse of the Black Pearl is that there is really nothing swashbuckling about it. If you remove the tepid little thirty-second jig from the start of the opening cue, then this score could easily accompany a movie about alien attacks, police force raids, chases for nuclear weapons, or any other militaristic setting." The "He's a Pirate" theme has also been noted to have similarities to music from the 2002 anime series The Twelve Kingdoms and 2006 role-playing video game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Conversely, Andrew Granade of Soundtrack.net gave the score a mostly positive review, giving it a 3.5 out of 5 rating and stating, "Pirates of the Caribbean is over the top in both movie and score, yet in a good-natured way. Badelt's work here is pleasing without being too heavy and is fully melded with the onscreen action."
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