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The Passion of the Christ

John Debney

Both revered and reviled, Mel Gibson’s graphic, incendiary and intensely controversial self-financed 2004 Aramaic-language telling of the last twelve hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth (James Caviezel) would go on to shatter all box office expectations, becoming the most successful independently-financed and –distributed film in history, as well as the most successful film ever made in a language other than English.

The recipient of one of the film’s three Academy Award nominations, composer John Debney – previously known for lighter fare like
Elf,Bruce Almighty and Spy Kids – brings a prodigious musical pedigree to bear on The Passion of the Christ with arrangements and orchestrations that draw from both ancient and modern, East and West. While simple woodwind and vocal arrangements like "The Olive Garden/Night Sky" and "It is Done" evoke the haunting strains of first century Palestine, such sweeping choral-orchestral tracks as "Bearing the Cross" bring to bear the subsequent gravitas of Byzantine tradition. Elsewhere, more conventional tracks like "Peter Denies Jesus" recall the soaring Biblical scores of Miklos Rosza (Ben Hur, King of Kings) while the heart-rending progression of "Mary Goes to Jesus" – which builds a lone angelic vocal into a rapturous symphonic hymn – ranks rightfully among Debney’s very best.
The Passion of the Christ

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