Music composed and conducted by
John Debney
Label: Sony Classical
Catalog: 97742
Year: 2005

1. Theme From Dreamer
2. The Stand Off-1st Ride
3. First Race 
4. Ben Asks Pop For Help 
5. Sonador In Harness 
6. Popsicles
7. Manny's Story
8. Testing Sonador's Leg 
9. 2nd Ride-Thunderpants 
10. Runaway Horse 
11. Exercising Sonador 
12. The Noble King
13. New Owner Montage 
14. Training Montage
15. Smart And Beautiful 
16. Sonador Chosen
17. Cale Won't Sell Sonador 
18. Leaving Sadir's
19. She's Ready To Run 
20. She Want's To Run 
21. Last Race 
22. End Credit Medley 
23. Dreamer (Film Mix) - Bethany Dillon
24. Main Title (Film Version) 
25. Dreamer (Hidden Track)

Total Time: 64:23

Reviewed by
Jorge Saldanha


Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, starring the ascending young Dakota Fanning and the veteran Kurt Russell, is the story of a trainer and his daughter who nurse an injured horse (Soņador) back to health, with an eye to racing him in the Breeder's Cup. The original composer for this Disney family drama was the Poland born Jan A. P Kaczmarek, but unfortunately he was fired before he could finish the score recordings. For his place was hired John Debney, one of the busiest film music composers at the moment. After years working on doomed projects and comedies, Debney was hired for the controversial (and highly sucessfull) The Passion of The Christ, and as they say, the rest is history.

Only in 2005 Debney has scored music for an impressive eight films, including The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, Sin City, The Pacifier, Zathura, and Chicken Little. He is equally a great orchestrator, composer and conductor, and for this picture he crafted a highly melodic score, plenty of evocative Americana. However, it became apparent that in the process he was, at certain degree, a victim of the "Temp Track Syndrome". In other words, he was influenced by music extracted from another movies, placed at the rough cut as a temporary score. We can hear subtle references to works of James Newton Howard (Man on the Moon), Randy Newman (Seabiscuit), James Horner (Legends of The Fall) and Thomas Newman (The Horse Whisperer).

For this reason the resulting score lacks some originality, but at the same time it is extremely functional and highly enjoyable. The score is based in an inspired central theme, that it is so important for this work as much the virtuose Joshua Bell's violin solos. About the violinist, Debney says: "Joshua is an artist of unparalled excellence. He simply amazed me playing the most delicate as well as the more challenging passages with complete control and elegance." Bell's performance is one of the album's highlights, indeed.

Sony's score CD includes more than an hour of Debney's music, that sometimes assumes a more intimistic profile, as in "Manny's Store", "The Noble King", "Cale Won't Sell Soņador", "Ben Asks Pop for Help" or "Smart and Beautiful" (with a solo piano rendition of the main theme by Michael Lang, another featured soloist), sometimes with a complete and exciting simphonic performance, as in "First Race", "Runaway Horse", "Training Montage" and "Last Race". This last one underscores the film's climax and it can be considered, without any doubt, the highlight of the score. Closing the album we have the obligatory song "Dreamer (Film Mix)" performed by Bethany Dillon, the original recording of the film's "Main Title" and a hidden track (another mix of Dillon's "Dreamer").

Besides its proven qualities, Dreamer may sound like a score that we have already listened before. Nevertheless, the lack of originality can't make us forget the true function of film music: to help and support the images. And if, at the same time, it pleases the listener through some really touching passages, much better. Debney's music satisfies at these two levels, delivering a high quality and professional score, a trademark of this young but already veteran californian composer - he's only in his 40s. Certainly Debney has a very long and promising career ahead.