FILM SC♀RES – Celebrating Female Composers
"I sing in the language of the Heart. It's an invented language that I've had for a very long time. I believe I started singing in it when I was about 12. And I believed that I was speaking to God when I sang in that language."
- Lisa Gerrard on the lyrics used in Gladiator.
Australian composer Lisa Gerrard received a Golden Globe Award for her music on Ridley Scott’s Oscar®-winning Roman epic, collaborating with Hans Zimmer on songs such as the film’s stirring finale ‘Now We Are Free’ for what is surely one of the most moving film scores in modern cinema.
After the death of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) betrays the Emperor's beloved General Maximus (Russell Crowe) and takes the throne for himself. When Maximus is sold as a slave and then trained as a gladiator, he keeps himself strong with thoughts of retribution. Taken to the Colosseum, he prepares to fight in a contest presided over by the corrupt Commodus. Will he suffer the ultimate humiliation and die for the entertainment of his enemy or will he survive the rigors of the arena and find a way of exacting his revenge?
So moved by the music they were hearing, many viewers were at pains to discover what language Gerrard was singing in on the film’s many stirring arrangements. The answer it turns out was none. It was an idioglossia, a language invented and spoken by one person – herself. But whilst the words might only be understood by Gerrard alone, the resonance and heartfelt emotion stirred up through her performance of those mysterious lyrics was nothing short of universal.
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