John Williams concluded an exceptional 2005 campaign with his score for "Munich", a taut, gripping thriller that was enhanced greatly by the maestro's tense and heartfelt music. An effort like this further accentuates why Williams is the best in the business.
The soundtrack is comprised of 18 trackers and remains consistently sharp throughout. To start the album, Williams evokes the use of female vocals that represent the burden of pain shouldered by those in the Middle East. It's a deeply moving piece, especially when you couple it with the true life tragedy the motif represents. The singing trails off into the darkened abyss...the moment of the attack on the Munich athletes.
After a very compelling opening track, the score then transitions to the main themes that embody the score as a whole -- and when I say themes, I am not referring to grandiose anthems or even something with the dramatic depth of "Schindler's List." Instead, we're dealing with an understated tapestry that glides beneath the emotions and the visuals on the screen. That said, the most significant theme does stand out from the underscore and comes across bittersweet (with variations of it shifting slightly depending on the scene in the film). To me, it's a westernized hybrid of modern dramatic music with light Middle Eastern influences.
At the end of the affair (not a Nyman reference), Williams' breadth of music makes for an outstanding overall impression. While there are gaps in the score that are too dark (tonally) to enjoy on it's own, one cannot discredit that absolute magnificence of the writing here.