James Horner


It's hard to know where to start. In Atmosphere I stated that recognisable music should not be used, but it is surprising how many people can't remember Willow's theme. Almost everyone remembers seeing the film, but don't remember the remarkable music. Even for those who do remember the music, there is nothing more fitting than using track six to inspire a group.

This is simply James Horner's finest score without any competition. Braveheart and Legends of the Fall are good, but Willow is simply superb. From the haunting opening notes to the final haunting notes it is a great score. The only negative in terms of its application to roleplaying is that it consists of a number of very long tracks which makes it extremely difficult to fit to a specific event or description. This is compounded by the fact each track skilfully weaves a number of seemingly discordant themes into a seamless harmony. With enough skill, though, and a good sense of timing, the results can be simply spectacular.

There are a number of wonderful themes running the way through this score. There is Elora Danan's heart-wrenching melody assisted by James Horner's long time college, Kazu Matsui on the Sakauhachi (Japanese flute). There is also Willow's unmistakable heroic theme that will always be a personal favourite. The battle scenes are enhanced by drums, eerie calls across the plains and the sound of a full orchestra.

A brilliant soundtrack and highly suitable for grand epics, heroic adventures and fantasy campaigns which need a sheen of superiority.

Track Listing and Notes

  1. Elora Danan (9:47) - magical and mystical ~ dread and death ~ opening title ~ attack ~ discovery ~ strange things
  2. Escape from the Tavern (5:06) - escape
  3. Willow's Journey Begins (5:28) - sadness ~ plodding journey ~ danger ~ strange discovery blends into opening title ~ things that go bump in the night
  4. Canyon of Mazes (7:53) - danger approaches ~ race or escape ~ chase
  5. Tir Asleen (10:49) - mystery and eeriness ~ battle ~ loss
  6. Willow's Theme (3:57) - heroic ~ sad ~ choral
  7. Bavmorda's Spell is Cast (18:13) - mysterious ~ danger ~ hope ~ danger ~ tension ~ heroic ~ attack
  8. Willow the Sorcerer (11:57) - march ~ despair ~ happy ~ celebration ~ heroic ~ majestic ~ mysterious

Total Running Time: 73:15

Alternative Reviews

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Willow © 1988 Lucasfilm Ltd.