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Jesus: The Epic Mini-series by
Patrick Williams









Jesus:  The Epic Mini-series (Soundtrack) by Patrick Williams

Jesus: The Epic Mini-series
Composed by Patrick Williams
Angel Records (2000)

Rating: 8/10

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“Whether it is Easter, Christmas, or the other 363 days out of the year, JESUS: THE EPIC MINI SERIES by Patrick Williams is certain to “bless” the film music fan. ”

Williams' Messiah
Review by Christopher Coleman

Beginning in the silent era, one of the most oft repeated stories in film has been that of the life of Christ. It has been told from almost every angle possible; some attempts striving to depict orthodox views of Christ's life, while others have put to film other views that would hardly be considered "mainstream."  In any event, the life of Christ eventually became the story of greatest impact upon Western civilization and so its prominence up to the 21th century is not a surprise.

In the Spring of 2000, CBS aired its mini-series, JESUS: THE EPIC MINI SERIES, directed by Roger E. Young, who has helmed many other biblical mini-series such as:  MOSES, JOSEPH, and SOLOMON.  Some 21 million viewers watched this original broadcast and was one of the highest-rated series of the 2000-2001 season. In 2004, in effort to capitalize on the success of Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, the two-hour, second-half was re-aired, but to much less audience interest. The original series, as it aired in 2000, was already trimmed down by 40 minutes compared to the European release.  This rendition of the life of Christ covers all of the main beats of the story but ads in a number of contemporary twists...some of which certainly tread the line of orthodoxy and reveal thought-lines that are explored much more fully in films such as THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST or THE DA VINCI CODE.

To translate the story of the Messiah into music, the producers wisely selected three-time Emmy Award winning composer PATRICK WILLIAMS. His name may not be the most recognizable but many of his works certainly are. Ranging from television shows such as THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO and LOU GRANT to his Pulitzer Prize nominated composition AN AMERICAN CONCERTO, to his work as a jazz composer, arranger, and bandleader, Patrick Williams’ vast talent is employed his latest composition for JESUS: THE EPIC MINI SERIES.

Following the well-known beats of the life of Christ, the music rises, falls, and rises again.  Williams is able to accomplish a very difficult task in capturing the myriad of emotions that the life of Christ has brought to civilization since his birth. One of the producers goals was to communicate that this historical story is still relevant to our modern society.  Visually this is done as we see Jesus being tempted by Satan in a suit or being brought to Kosovo to witness the devastation...or when Jesus, himself, appears in a modern-day suit at the conclusion of the series. Williams' score follows that line by delivering a score that marked by a strong, western-contemporary personality.

The series' central theme is, of course, focused on Jesus.  Here Patrick Williams writes a simple, eight-note, melody that ranges from solo trumpet to powerful, full orchestral performances as heard in "Main Titles" (1).  The heroic or triumphant element of the life of Christ is carried by the brass, particularly the trumpet.  Ironically, the overwhelming loneliness of leadership, misunderstanding, betrayal and sacrifice are carried by this very same instrument.  The power and majesty demonstrated throughout the life of Christ is depicted with equally dramatic music. Tracks such as "Walking on Water" and "Raising Lazarus" leave little to be desired as far as the amount of dramatic impact one might desire. While determined and hopeful, it somehow maintains elements of sadness and profundity. In all; however, this theme is sharp and memorable.

Perhaps the best representation of the this historic/contemporary mix is found in track 11, simply titled "Satan." Beginning with a short introduction by strings and then solo trumpet, the piece soon dives into foreboding moans and synthetic groans of darkness. The track the oscillates between darkness and light as the heroic trumpet and strings battle with the darkling-synths and sound design and makes for a truly engaging piece to experience. Concluding with a restatement of the title theme, the track is the longest single piece contained on this release at 5:18.

The life of Christ has given writers, directors, producers and composers more ideas, relationships, settings, twist and turns that they might dream of in one story. It is no wonder this story has been told and retold so many times and will go on being retold. From the mysterious birth, to humiliating death, to the final triumphant that gives hope to millions, and the countless tales in-between, there is a harvest of material from which to draw. Composer Patrick Williams does his part with class and intelligence and has produced a score that should have garnered, at the least, an Emmy nomination. Whether it is Easter, Christmas, or the other 363 days out of the year, JESUS: THE EPIC MINI SERIES by Patrick Williams is certain to “bless” the film music fan.

Rating: 8/10

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Main Title 2:54  ****
2 Joseph Dies 2:35  ***
3 Searching for Jesus 2:36  ****
4 Temple, The Early Years 2:38  ****
5 Healing the Sick 3:09  ****
6 Zealots 1:51  ***
7 Walking on Water 2:50  *****
8 Raising Lazarus 2:59  ****
9 Jesus Arrives 1:27  *****
10 The Last Supper 3:53  ****
11 Satan 5:18  ****
12 Gethsemane 1:25  ****
13 Taken to Pilate 1:57  ***
14 Pie Jesu (performed by Sarah Brightman) 3:53  ****
15 The Passion 1:53  ***
16 The Crucixion 4:17  ****
17 Jesus Has Risen 2:26  ***
18 I Am With You 1:58  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 50 minutes  




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