HELD DER GLADIATOREN – Carsten Rocker


Original Review by Alan Rogers

A German TV movie from 2003 (and described by one commentator as “Baywatch In The Arena), the plot for Held Der Gladiatoren revolves around gladiator Germanus and his conflict with rival Lagos (nicknamed “The Bear”) which reaches boiling point when they are all transported to Germany and Germanus’ sister Rhihanna begins to show some affection towards The Bear. The film features an orchestral score by German composer Carsten Rocker who composes mostly for German TV and features The German Film Orchestra delivering a varied score that has its roots in the Media Ventures school of action scoring. The 25-minute release has a nice balance between the aforementioned action scoring and more quieter cues underscoring the emotional sequences in the film.

The score is bookended by “Requiem” (the first cue featuring percussion backing that is omitted from the final cue), a slow, emotional cue featuring a lovely theme played delicately on guitar, then expanding to include the full orchestra. The score then retains the quiet, emotional feel with “Reise nach Germanien” and this, I feel, is a good choice as the listener becomes familiar with the musical world before being launched into the more generic action scoring. Being a movie about gladiators there’s bound to be the required training scenes (“Erstes Training”, “Trainingsmontage”), the introduction to the arena (“Die Arena”) and the gladiatorial battles (“Bärenkampf”, “Der Letzte Kampf”, “Triumph”) and Rocker wheels out the orchestral big guns, providing appropriately rousing and dramatic action music that features lots of bold brass playing and exciting string writing. These blocks of action scoring are broken up well by the quieter moments heard in the likes of “Germanus and Flaminia” and “Abschied und Lamento” where cello and guitar solos add an emotional depth.

The German Film Orchestra gives its all for this score, providing an enthusiastic performance throughout. But it is sometimes let down on occasion by some obvious synth percussion (and perhaps some augmented strings too). Originally released on CD by Alhambra in 2007, Rocker’s score now receives a wider digital release by i2i Musikproduktion at online stores such as Amazon and iTunes. It’s a score isn’t that original but what there is is well composed, well played and has a nice balance between emotional and action scoring that makes for an enjoyable 25 minutes listening experience.

Audio samples can be found HERE and then click on blue arrow next to running time for samples of entire album or individual tracks.

Rating: ***

  1. Requiem (1:55)
  2. Reise nach Germanien (2:47)
  3. Flucht (1:23)
  4. Trance (1:20)
  5. Erstes Training (2:10)
  6. Trainingsmontage (0:48)
  7. Germanus und Flaminia (1:43)
  8. Bärenkampf (2:25)
  9. Die Arena (2:02)
  10. Abschied und Lamento (2:37)
  11. Der Letzte Kampf (3:30)
  12. Triumph (1:10)
  13. Requiem (Reprise) (1:54)

Running Time: 25:50

i2i Musikproduktion (2011)

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  1. […] HELD DER GLADIATOREN – Carsten Rocker « Reel MusicAug 18, 2011 … The film features an orchestral score by German composer Carsten Rocker who composes mostly for German TV and features The German … […]

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