‘The Book Thief’ Soundtrack Reviews (NEW UPDATE)

Film Music Magazine – If there’s one instrument that Williams has used to devastating effect, then it’s certainly the violin in the Hebraic scores to “Schindler’s List” and “Munich.” What’s interesting, and no less impactful about “The Book Thief” is that the solo violin is barely present. Instead, the predominant sound is harp, strings and piano, as mostly heard in a pensive, if not gently happy register reminiscent of Williams’ soundtracks to “Stanley and Irish” and “The Accidental Tourist” – one movie about a writer re-discovering his purpose in life, and the other about a unassuming man learning to read. – Full review *NEW*

Examiner.com – From Gloria Cheng’s opening piano solo in “One Small Fact”, Williams’ music really beings to sweep into the classical romantic vein with lush lyricism and full of vibrant melody that is just pure Williams at his very best. This very special theme featured throughout the score is repetitive but it really is very special that you just simply don’t care that it is and that’s what makes this score that much better than a lot scores that are being churned out nowadays with very little concept of melody or lyricism. – Full review

Movie Music UK – As with virtually all Williams works, it’s also remarkably beautiful, written for a full orchestra, masterfully orchestrated, and containing a great deal of heart and sentiment, as befits the work of someone who has been bringing beauty, heart and sentiment to the world of cinema for over 50 years. In terms of overall sound, one could say that The Book Thief is an amalgamation of Schindler’s List and Angela’s Ashes, with a little bit of Empire of the Sun and a little bit of Jane Eyre thrown in for good measure. It’s classic emotional Williams through and through, and a welcome reminder of everything that can be good about film music, and his music in particular. – Full review

Blueprint Review – ”One Small fact” is the first treat to be experienced as you submerse yourself into this soundtrack, with its soulful piano solo which builds into a robust and emotional piece. “The Journey to Himmel Street” is a beautiful, ghostly piece of music leaving the listener wanting to hear more… – Full review

JWFAN – The score for The Book Thief could be said to be archetypical when the composer is concerned and it has to be admitted that Williams offers very little here that is entirely novel, but rather continues to write in his own idiom much as he has done in the past few years in the scores like The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse and Lincoln. Shades of his past dramatic scores, like Angela’s Ashes, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Memoirs of a Geisha, Presumed Innocent, Stepmom and Accidental Tourist waft in and out in stylistic and orchestrational choices but rarely in the actual musical material. The score might be best described musically as meeting an old and welcome friend, and despite the familiar orchestral trappings you can’t deny the sheer emotional pull and quality of Williams’ writing in The Book Thief. – Full review

Movie Wave – There aren’t any surprises in The Book Thief – which itself is not surprising (he’s 81!) – instead, the score album plays almost like a comforting letter from an old friend, a highly-welcome one at that.  It oozes class from every pore, a young whippersnapper in terms of this composer’s glorious career but with all the hallmarks of a classic vintage – Full review

Lost in the Multiplex – The highlights of the album (as usual with John) come from the emotional moments. As you might imagine there are some wonderful string pieces and these really are Williams’ trademarks, such as the sparse piano that segues to a sweeping rendition of the main theme in ‘Learning To Read’, which is reflected in ‘Learning To Write’, which begins with violin which then moves into a wonderfully emotional section. He has such a grasp of narrative writing where he creates moments that have payoffs further down the line, and it makes for such an entertaining listen. – Full review

Sony Classical’s press release – The touching story of The Book Thief gave Williams a wonderful canvas for original music, and an opportunity to demonstrate his mastery of intimate orchestral composition, including many wonderful solo instrumental textures. – Full review