Music composed by Mychael Danna

Label: New Line Records
Catalog: NLR39074
Year: 2006

1. Veni, Veni Emanuel
2. Words Of The Prophet
3. Nazareth
4. You Shall Be His Wife
5. The Annunciation
6. To Elizabeth
7. The Magi
8. Why Is It Me?
9. Corde Natus Ex Parentis
10. Return Of Mary
11. I've Broken No Vow
12. Census
13. The Journey
14. Give Me A Sign
15. The Shepherd
16. And Thou Bethlehem
17. Is There A Place For Us?
18. A Star Shall Come Forth
19. I Bring You Good Tidings
20. The Strength I Prayed For
21. The Shepherd's Gift
22. In Rosa Vernat Lilium
23. Silens Nox
24. Rosa Aeterna Floret

Total Time: 67:58

Reviewed by
Jorge Saldanha

In the past few years we saw at the theaters two very distincts retellings of Christ's life: Philip Saville's The Gospel of John and Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. In December 1, 2006, to celebrate the Christmas, Catherine Hardwicke's drama The Nativity Story did hit the screens worlwide to bring to the viewers another version of the classic tale of the Messiah's birth. This New Line film starred by Keisha Castle-Hugues and Oscar Isaac, focuses on Mary and Joseph's life as they travel to Baethlen for the birth of Jesus.

Introductions made, what kind of music we could expect to hear at this religious production? Sacred music, of course. And there's even another album plenty of it. But specifically about this score CD, there's more to tell. For years the music of Biblical movies followed the patterns established by Elmer Bernstein (The Ten Commandments) and Miklos Rozsa (Quo Vadis, Ben-Hur). For me this kind of work still is the best musical representation of the genre, anyway Peter Gabriel's score to The Last Temptation of Christ, bringing to the mix world-music elements, moaning vocalists and electronics influenced several film scores
that had followed, including Debney's own The Passion of Christ.

Mychael Danna, director's Atom Egoyan's favourite composer, departs from that path on The Nativity Story, choosing a way more closer to his brother Jeff's in
The Gospel of John but still remaining unique. It starts with Middle Eastern patterns, but very soon it develops into medieval and classical melodies. While persian and Turkish ney flutes are used to build melodic figures and strident horns and drums describe the Roman soldiers, instruments such as viola da gamba, vielle, harp, and recorders give to the score a Western flavour, enriched with the usual sounds of strings and winds. "My approach is not about a story set in the Middle East," says Danna. "It's about how the Nativity changed history when Europe really flowered under Christianity". For this purpose Danna references ancient Christmas melodies and Gregorian chants.

The second half of the soundtrack covers Mary's isolation and her relationship with Joseph, with the choral writing and performances leading the work to a dramatic, reverent whole. More than The Gospel of John and The Passion of The Christ, the voices and chorus of The Nativity Story give to the score a haunting, strong sense of religiosity that at some points reaches that Hollywoodian grandeur of the old master's works. It is a very beautiful and touching score that will bring tears to your eyes, and happiness to your heart and ears.