Titus (soundtrack)

Last updated
Soundtrack album by
Elliot Goldenthal
ReleasedJan 11, 2000
Genre Classical
Musique concrète
Jazz fusion
Alternative Rock
Label Sony Classical
SK 89171
Producer Matthias Gohl
Elliot Goldenthal chronology
In Dreams
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Professional ratings
Review scores
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Titus is the original soundtrack to the 1999 motion picture Titus . Elliot Goldenthal wrote the score for the film, an adaptation of Shakespeare's first, and bloodiest, tragedy Titus Andronicus ; written and directed by Julie Taymor, Goldenthal's long-time friend and partner. The only non-Goldenthal piece is an old Italian song called "Vivere" performed by Italian singer Carlo Buti.


The Score

It is extremely experimental, like all of his other work, and the first piece "Victorius Titus" is reminiscent of The Imperial March by John Williams in its imposing, martial nature, and (unlike imperial march) in addition uses an archaic male choir chanting in Latin. The score blends orchestral, jazz, rock and electronica styles and complements Taymor's unique and off-beat adaptation of the Shakespearean play. In keeping with many other Goldenthal scores the orchestra used was the British London Metropolitan Orchestra. The score also contains samples from earlier Goldenthal scores, the most glaring being a reworked version of "Wreckage and Rape" from the soundtrack to Alien 3 , which plays during the dinner table fight scene. [6]

The score, according to Goldenthal himself, sums up his film scoring career up to that point; "This score is a culmination of my style. It sums up the type of work I've been doing for the past ten years." [7]

He explains it saying,

"O Cruel Irreligious piety!" With this oxymoron - the Goth Queen Tamora's plea to spare her son from being sacrificed at the hands of the AndroniciShakespeare starts the engine that drives the play – the engine that drives my music. it is fueled by the combustion of opposites: vengeance and forgiveness, purity and defilement, the grotesque and the sublime. But there is another byproduct – for this lamentable tale of woe oddly yields a great deal of irony and humor. In perhaps one of Shakespeare's most absurdist moments (Act III, scene i) the two heads of Titus' wrongly accused sons, and the General's own severed hand, are cruelly returned to him outside his home. At this nightmarish presentation, Titus inexplicably breaks into laughter. He then commands his handless daughter, Lavinia, to take up his severed hand between her teeth and enter the house. Performance after performance, production after production, audiences nervously laugh at this scene, thus falling into Shakespeare's ingenious trap: the playwright has devilishly induced the audience into a similar state to Titus' – involuntarily laughing at the horror. Such unexpected juxtapositions forced me to find unexpected musical solutions.But let me take you back to the beginning. Almost one year prior to the commencement of principal photography on Titus, I was encouraged by Julie Taymor and scenic designer Dante Ferretti to accompany them on location scouting in Rome. On day one, glancing at the Palatine Hills from a 1998 Fiat, we saw the great Circus Maximus with the ruins of privileged patricians' villas perched overhead, and I heard in my mind's ear an archetypal ancient percussion ensemble. In that same moment, another car pulled up alongside ours, equipped with a sub woofer – with the pentameters and hexameters of hip-hop blasting through every window. The music cross-faded as I watched a group of Andean pan flute players in native Bolivian garb hawking their tapes and playing their music, which was almost drowned out by an Elvis impersonator with a cheap karaoke setup – replete with cheesy reverb – singing "Jailhouse Rock" in a Neapolitan dialect...well, you get the idea. My mind was put at ease: in Rome – as in this film – it is possible in an instant to embrace æons.

Elliot Goldenthal [8]

Track listing

  1. "Victorius Titus" – 2:58
  2. "Procession & Obsequis" – 3:00
  3. "Revenge Wheel" – 0:54
  4. "Tribute & Suffrage" – 4:17
  5. "Arrows of the Gods" – 1:33
  6. "An Offering" – 2:04
  7. "Crossroads" – 3:24
  8. "Vortex" – 1:34
  9. "Swing Rave" – 1:53
  10. "Ill-Fated Plot" – 2:20
  11. "Pickled Heads" – 5:05
  12. "Tamora's Pastorale" – 1:13
  13. "Titus' Vow" – 3:43
  14. "Mad Ole Titus" – 2:27
  15. "Philimelagram" – 1:46
  16. "Pressing Judgement" – 3:32
  17. "Aaron's Plea" – 2:01
  18. "Coronation" – 1:54
  19. "Apian Stomp" – 1:32
  20. "Adagio" – 2:25
  21. "Finale" – 8:34
  22. "Vivere" – 3:33

300 score controversy

The score for the 2007 film 300, composed by Tyler Bates became the subject of much criticism regarding the somewhat liberal use of other composers' orchestrations (at times note for note) including pieces from Goldenthal's Titus score; in particular "Victorius Titus" and "Finale". [9] [10] Warner Bros. Pictures released a statement clarifying the matter with regards to the similarities to Goldenthal's work:

Warner Bros. Pictures acknowledges and regrets that a number of the music cues for the score of "300" were, without our knowledge or participation, derived from music composed by Academy Award winning composer Elliot Goldenthal for the motion picture "Titus." Warner Bros. Pictures has great respect for Elliot, our longtime collaborator, and is pleased to have amicably resolved this matter. [11]


As mentioned above, the score blends several styles of music; below are some examples of this including the two tracks concerned in the controversy with the "300" score.

The imposing, martial opening cue used in the credits as Titus and his legions enter the arena.

The romantic and slow paced piece used at the end of the film that slowly rises to a dramatic crescendo.

An example of the jazz fusion used in the party scene at the Imperial Palace.


Related Research Articles

<i>Titus Andronicus</i> Play by Shakespeare

Titus Andronicus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593. It is thought to be Shakespeare's first tragedy and is often seen as his attempt to emulate the violent and bloody revenge plays of his contemporaries, which were extremely popular with audiences throughout the 16th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julie Taymor</span> American film and theatre director and writer (born 1952)

Julie Taymor is an American director and writer of theater, opera, and film. Her stage adaptation of The Lion King debuted in 1997 and received eleven Tony Award nominations, with Taymor receiving Tony Awards for her direction and costume design. Her film Frida, about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, was nominated for five Academy Awards, including a Best Original Song nomination for Taymor's composition "Burn It Blue". She also directed the 2007 jukebox musical film Across the Universe, based on the music of the Beatles.

<i>Titus</i> (film) 1999 film directed by Julie Taymor

Titus is a 1999 epic surrealist historical drama film directed and written by Julie Taymor in her directorial debut. Adapted from William Shakespeare's revenge tragedy Titus Andronicus, the movie stars Anthony Hopkins as the titular Roman general, chronicling his downfall after returning victorious from war. The film was co-produced with Jody Patton and Conchita Airoldi. The film was a co-production of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Italy; produced by Overseas Filmgroup and Clear Blue Sky Productions and released by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elliot Goldenthal</span> American composer

Elliot Goldenthal is an American composer of contemporary classical music and film and theatrical scores. A student of Aaron Copland and John Corigliano, he is best known for his distinctive style and ability to blend various musical styles and techniques in original and inventive ways. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2002 for his score to the motion picture Frida, directed by his longtime partner Julie Taymor.

Carlo Buti was an Italian interpreter of popular and folk music. He was known as "the Golden Voice of Italy", and was possibly the first superstar of Italian music in the twentieth century. He recorded 1574 songs during his career.

<i>300 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack</i> 2007 soundtrack album by Tyler Bates

300: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the 2007 film of the same name by Tyler Bates. The album was released by Warner Bros. Records on March 6, 2007, three days before the film opened for public viewing.

<i>Frida</i> (soundtrack) 2002 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

Frida is the original soundtrack album, on the Universal label, of the 2002 Academy Award- and Golden Globe Award-winning film Frida starring Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Mía Maestro and Ashley Judd. The original score was composed by Elliot Goldenthal. The soundtrack features songs by various artists.

<i>Alien 3</i> (soundtrack) 1992 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

The avant-garde Alien 3: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was written for the motion picture of the same name. Scored by Elliot Goldenthal, it was his first big mainstream score; he described it as an experiment and spent a whole year creating it.

<i>Heat</i> (soundtrack) 1995 soundtrack album by Various artists

Heat is the soundtrack album to the 1995 film Heat. The score is compiled mostly with Elliot Goldenthal's orchestrations although there are a variety of other artists featured including U2/Brian Eno project Passengers, Lisa Gerrard, Moby and Terje Rypdal.

<i>Demolition Man</i> (soundtrack) 1993 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

Elliot Goldenthal scored the soundtrack Demolition Man: The Original Orchestral Score for the movie Demolition Man. It is an example of his off-beat style and use of unconventional techniques in film score, incorporating big brass clashes and complex, dramatic string arrangements.

<i>Interview with the Vampire</i> (soundtrack) 1994 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

Elliot Goldenthal scored the 1994 film Interview with the Vampire, working again with director and frequent collaborator Neil Jordan.

<i>In Dreams</i> (soundtrack) 1999 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

The score to the psychological thriller In Dreams, by Elliot Goldenthal, is an avant-garde work filled with his trademark techniques and dissonance. Composed in 1999, and working again with frequent collaborator Neil Jordan, it also features songs by Roy Orbison and The Andrews Sisters.

<i>Pet Sematary</i> (soundtrack) 1989 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

Pet Sematary is the soundtrack album for the film of the same name. Produced by Elliot Goldenthal, it was released in 1989.

<i>Batman Forever</i> (score) 1995 film score by Elliot Goldenthal

Batman Forever: Original Motion Picture Score Album is a 1995 Grammy-nominated film score album for Batman Forever, composed by Elliot Goldenthal. It was released in conjunction with its soundtrack counterpart. Despite Goldenthal having recorded over 2 hours of music, the soundtrack only had 45 minutes before La-La Land Records released an expanded version in 2012. The score features big brass, strings and discordant noises while maintaining an anthemic sound. Regarding the villainous leitmotifs, Goldenthal said Two-Face features paired notes and doubled beats while being inspired by Russian composers such as Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, and Riddler has a sound reminiscent of old science fiction B-movies with a theremin. On the U2 single "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me", there is a track titled "Themes from Batman Forever" composed by Goldenthal; this can also be found on the expanded release issued in 2012.

<i>Cobb</i> (soundtrack) 1995 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

The score to the film Cobb by Elliot Goldenthal was released in 1994.

<i>Michael Collins</i> (soundtrack) 1996 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

Elliot Goldenthal's score for the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score.

<i>Othello</i> (ballet) 1998 live album by San Francisco Ballet Orchestra

Othello is a ballet in three acts based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare. Choreography by Lar Lubovitch is set to an orchestral score composed by Elliot Goldenthal and released commercially on the Varèse Sarabande label. Originally produced in 1997, the ballet was commissioned by the American Ballet Theatre and the San Francisco Ballet.

<i>Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass</i> 1996 cast recording by Elliot Goldenthal

Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass is a musical with music and lyrics by Elliot Goldenthal and a book by Goldenthal and Julie Taymor. The musical premiered Off-Broadway in 1988 in the former St. Clement's Church. It was subsequently reworked and refined before playing on Broadway in 1996 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, directed by Taymor. The musical, based on a modern fable of the same name by Horacio Quiroga, is set in the jungle in South America, with a jaunty skeletal Death ever present. Its story concerns an orphaned jaguar cub who is miraculously transformed into a human child by the compassion of a woman who has lost her own baby; the boy must then confront the savagery of human civilization. The production employs masked actors and puppets, and the score includes elements of Latin American folk music and the Requiem Mass. The piece was revived and toured extensively.

<i>The Green Bird</i> (soundtrack) 2000 soundtrack album by Elliot Goldenthal

The Green Bird score is composed and orchestrated by Elliot Goldenthal for the 1999 musical of the same name, directed by long-time Goldenthal collaborator Julie Taymor, It is an allegorical fairy tale of a royal family's rite of passage after being separated by a wicked grandmother.

<i>Across the Universe</i> (soundtrack) 2007 soundtrack album by Various artists

The soundtrack to the 2007 jukebox musical romantic drama film Across the Universe directed by Julie Taymor, features songs from the Beatles, on which the film was centered and itself based on the song of the same name by Lennon–McCartney. It features 34 Beatles compositions that are incorporated for the film and sung by the lead cast, Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, T.V. Carpio, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy, Bono, Eddie Izzard, Joe Cocker and Salma Hayek. The album is compiled and produced by T Bone Burnett, Matthias Gohl and Elliot Goldenthal. Goldenthal who previously worked on Taymor's Titus (1999) and Frida (2002), had composed the film's original score, which is also included in the album.


  1. Allmusic review
  2. Soundtracknet review
  3. Scorereviews.com review
  4. Movie-Wave.net review
  5. Moviemusicuk.us review
  6. "Video Game News, Reviews, and Walkthroughs - IGN".
  7. SoundtrackNet : Interview – Elliot Goldenthal
  8. Elliot Goldenthal Discography: Titus (2000)
  9. Review: 300 (2007)
  10. SoundtrackNet : 300 Soundtrack
  11. Cross-Promotional DVD Archived 2007-08-11 at the Wayback Machine
  12. http://www.legacyrecordings.com/Elliot-Goldenthal/Titus-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack.aspx [ dead link ]