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Moulin Rouge
2001 Commercial Album

2002 Commercial Album

2002 Promo Album

Score Composed, Produced, and Performed on Piano by:
Craig Armstrong

Songs Arranged and Produced by:
Craig Armstrong
Marius Devries
Josh G. Abrahams
Baz Luhrmann
Anton Monsted
Patrick Leonard
Steve Sharples
Steve Sidwell
Chris Elliot

Orchestrated by:
Craig Armstrong
Matt Dunkey

Score and Songs Conducted by:
Christopher Gordon
Cecilia Weston
Chris Elliot

Performed by:
London Orchestra

Metro Voices

Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Choir Conducted by:
Jenny O'Grady

Principle Vocals by:
Nicole Kidman
Ewan McGregor
Jim Broadbent
John Leguizamo
Jacek Koman
Richard Roxburgh
Anthony Weigh
Caroline O'Connor
Alka Yagnik

Albums Produced by:
Baz Luhrmann

Labels and Dates:
Interscope Records
(Volume 1)
(May 8th, 2001)

Promotional Release
(January, 2002)

Interscope Records
(Volume 2)
(February 26th, 2002)

Also See:
The Bone Collector
The Phantom of the Opera

Audio Clips:
2001 Regular Album:

6. Your Song (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

8. One Day I'll Fly Away (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (238K)
Real Audio (147K)

10. Elephant Love Medley (0:31):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (238K)
Real Audio (147K)

14. Hindi Sad Diamonds (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (235K)
Real Audio (146K)

2002 Regular Album:

2. Sparkling Diamonds (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

4. The Pitch (0:32):
WMA (206K)  MP3 (256K)
Real Audio (159K)

6. Like a Virgin (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

11. Bolero (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

Promotional Album:

3. The Duke's Plan (0:28):
WMA (0K)  MP3 (0K)
Real Audio (0K)

6. El Tango de Roxanne (0:30):
WMA (0K)  MP3 (0K)
Real Audio (0K)

7. Satine and Christian's Theme (0:30):
WMA (0K)  MP3 (0K)
Real Audio (0K)

11. Death Scene (0:29):
WMA (0K)  MP3 (0K)
Real Audio (0K)

  (Audio from promo album removed due to legal threat from Fox)

The two commercial albums are regular international releases. The promotional album was produced during the awards season of December 2001 to January 2002 and experienced only a limited printing due to the score's lack of an Academy Award eligibility. It was never available in quantity at even the online soundtrack specialty outlets. Original copies of the promo will have the "Moulin Rouge" logo in red at the top and "Craig Armstrong" written in cursive on the bottom of the CD itself. On the inner-circle is the name and phone number of the management group (Blue Focus) that pressed the CD.

  The score won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award. The song "Come What May" was also nominated for a Golden Globe. The first album was nominated for a Grammy Award. Armstrong won the "Best Composer" award from AFI as well.

The score and songs were deemed ineligible for Oscar nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because they contain too little original material.

Moulin Rouge

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Buy it... on the DVD if you want to experience the musical in its most complete and intended form, a necessity given the stunning complexity of the music, both original and adapted, arranged meticulously for the picture.

Avoid it... on any and all of the albums if you seek a truly comprehensive and satisfying listening experience from the most outrageously entertaining musical of the Digital Age.

Moulin Rouge: (Craig Armstrong/Various) Before commencing discussion about the music for Moulin Rouge in this review, it should be mentioned that Twentieth Century Fox threatened Filmtracks with legal action over this coverage in March of 2002. Through their law partners, Keats, McFarland & Wilson, LLP, Fox stated in a cease and desist letter that Filmtracks must immediately remove select elements of the coverage pertaining to composer Craig Armstrong's promotional album for Moulin Rouge. This site complied by taking the basic minimum of required action to avoid further claims (from which it would not have the resources to protect itself), removing the audio clips from the promotional album from this page. To view a copy of their original letter, as well as Filmtracks' response, click on the link above this review. It should be added, in retrospect, that the hassle caused by this legal threat contributed significantly to Filmtracks' decision to discontinue the "Theme of the Month" articles that had been part of the site since its creation in 1996. The studio's extremely poor attempts to contact the site before engaging its attorneys in the matter also caused the complete termination of all joint promotional efforts between Filmtracks and Fox, whether relating to album coverage consideration or other, singular endeavors. All known Internet IP addresses belonging to Fox corporate offices were banned from viewing the site and, as of the time of this revision to the Moulin Rouge review in January of 2009, relations between Filmtracks and Fox have not normalized. While this refusal by Filmtracks to deal with Fox has led to voluntary delays or outright rejection of reviews of promotional material sent to the site by Fox subsidiaries in subsequent years, there remains no excuse for the studio's behavior in 2002. Conversely, Filmtracks has worked diligently to repair its relationship with the representatives of Craig Armstrong, who were unjustly caught in the middle of the original problem because of their efforts to push for award nominations on behalf of their client. As a result, Filmtracks is proud to continue strongly featuring Armstrong's music, and, as is apparent from the review you are about to read, none of this trouble with Fox has affected the opinion about the outstanding music for Moulin Rouge.

No film of 2001 caused more excitement and controversy than Baz Luhrmann's strikingly unique postmodern musical. It's a dazzling spectacle of quick edits, flashy costumes, and breathtaking lights that enchanted some viewers with its beauty and sent others flying out of the theatre doors to confess their sins at the nearest church. The movie polarized audiences more than any other in the recent history of film, and it proved very difficult to predict which audiences would eventually see it for the fourth time and which would stagger out and lose their lunch in the lobby. The phenomenon that the film quickly became led it down a high profile road to dominate the awards show nominations of 2001 even though it was released far earlier in the year than any of the other major contenders. Both the DVD and commercial soundtrack albums representing the film have been outstanding successes, too, solidifying the somewhat awkward concept into a top place in the long ranks of Hollywood's best musicals (and opening the door for Chicago to overwhelm voters in the following awards season). There really is no adequate justice that a textual review of the music for Moulin Rouge (or a review of the movie itself, for that matter) can serve. The construction of the film and its music is so frenetic and choppy, shifting constantly between layers of musical ideas, that it's impossible for this review to fully explain each of the songs and score cues in a way that would make sense for someone who hasn't witnessed the package as a whole. To understand its parts, you simply need to have seen the sum. You also need to throw away your memories of the old, original Moulin Rouge movie from decades ago; the Baz Luhrmann version of 2001 wipes the slate clean and presents the story from an entirely different perspective. The director's previous extravaganzas (including the popular Strictly Ballroom and William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet) featured storytelling in its most frenzied form, with MTV-like cuts, bizarre camera angles, and a marvelous sonic array to go with the swirling visuals. The complex choreography of the dancing in this film, when combined with Luhrmann's shooting techniques, forms a sort of 21st Century variation of the classic Busby Berkeley musicals of the 1930's. Much of the film's story is told through the lyrics of the nearly constant songs, regardless of whether or not dancing is involved.

Instead of hiring a composer to write original songs for Moulin Rouge, Luhrmann decided to enhance the postmodern aspect of the concept by mostly adapting famous songs from the past for placement in this new context. The allure of Moulin Rouge for many viewers exists in the fact that the songs chosen for the film don't even all come from musicals themselves. Most of them are rock songs from the previous two decades that have been converted into a fully orchestral musical form. The familiarity of the songs makes the orgy of Luhrmann's sets, costumes, and half-naked dancers even more disparate for the 1899 Parisian locale of the story. Still, the equation works. One of the most significant reasons for the success of Moulin Rouge was the training and editing of the actors' performances to assist them in sounding quite accomplished. Compared to Andrew Lloyd Webber's 2004 film version of The Phantom of the Opera, which annihilated the underlying composition with terrible vocal performances by novices, the work done to prepare the actors for this production was extremely effective, as was the editing of individual stanzas to link portions of the songs into coherent presentations. The most surprising of those vocal performances come from the film's two main costars. Ewan McGregor plays the young English poet named Christian who travels against his parents' wishes to live the lifestyle of a Bohemian in Paris at the turn of the 20th Century. Quickly swallowed by the steamy underworld of drugs, sex, and the brilliant new discovery known as electricity, the poet is washed into the infamous Moulin Rouge club. In a comical case of mistaken identity, Christian meets and falls in love with Satine (Nicole Kidman), the city's most famous courtesan. From there, the high wire, tragic romance is played out on the stage of the club, with full productions, villainous dukes, and heartbreaking backstabbing leading to an ultimately doomed conclusion set within a circular storytelling format. The large scale dance scenes set in the club's theatre allow for some remarkably huge production numbers in the musical, while the more enchanting love affair between the poet and courtesan provide countless opportunities to integrate the sappiest of love songs from the last fifty years into magnificent medleys. The world of the Moulin Rouge is fascinating enough simply with its mingling of aristocrats and Bohemians, but Luhrmann's infusion of outrageous musical pieces into the storytelling caused the film to become more eclectic than many movie-goers could handle.

Christian In short, Moulin Rouge is a film to which you shouldn't have taken your children or your bibles. Ironically, the crazed edits and psychotic illumination weren't the aspect of the film that caused many fans to object so much to it. Instead, disdain existed over the combination of that visual wizardry with the adaptation of the old songs. The selection of songs included those that ranged from two years to a hundred years old, so nearly every generation of viewer was likely to recognize a whole slew of songs that had been severely mangled (in most circumstances) to tell the story of Moulin Rouge. To accomplish his vision, Luhrmann hired his previous associate, composer Craig Armstrong, to coordinate the massive orchestral effort, and Marius DeVries to direct the use of adapted music throughout the film. In the billing for Moulin Rouge, Armstrong usually gets the sole recognition, for it was his extensive arrangement and production that led to the fantastic renditions of many of the classic songs in the film, as well as the straight composition of the underscore for the few scenes where a song was not logistically possible. Armstrong, on the periphery of the film score writing industry for the entirety of his career, had been gaining recognition across the world for his orchestral and choral compositions for movies over the course of the late 1990's, and his extensive involvement with Moulin Rouge gained him invaluable awards recognition. The fact that he didn't translate this monumental success into a more high profile international career over the subsequent decade is a disappointment, but that doesn't detract in any way from his achievements for this one project. He led a group of a dozen producers, arrangers, orchestrators, and conductors in an effort to utilize the best of his available resources while, at the same time, coordinating sounds that formed a cohesive whole for the production. Pieces were assembled in London, Sydney, and Melbourne, making the project an even more complex international mix and match endeavor. Armstrong also contributed by performing on the piano for some of the orchestral renditions of key songs. Despite Armstrong's dominance at the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards that year, taking home the "best score" award at both venues, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in America determined that Moulin Rouge contained too little original material and thus deemed it ineligible for not only its songs, but its score as well (of course, that didn't stop the same group from nominating and awarding Gustavo Santaolalla's Babel a few years later).

From the opening to closing titles, the film consists mostly of a string of adapted songs, with score compositions bridging the short periods in between, and the only way to evaluate them in the film and on their albums is to discuss them chronologically, one by one. Keep in mind, however, that the film often makes use of layers of multiple songs and score material at once, with faint hints of music mixed far in the background to suggest, just like the screams of jubilant Bohemians, that there's typically a party right outside the door or window. Fortunately, a competent final sound mix almost always emphasizes the primary lyrical intent of every scene well. Before jumping into a discussion of the music in each major scene, though, some background on the album situation for Moulin Rouge is required. Even with two commercial albums and one promotional album representing Armstrong's interests during that initial awards season, there are songs and snippets of score that remain yet unavailable, causing some listeners to comment that the album crisis is just as confusing as the film itself. On the whole, the majority of score cues and songs in the film are available on the three albums when combining their contents. The original commercial album of May 2001 made the faux pas of providing the original rock versions of many of the songs rather than the adaptations made by Armstrong and others for the film. Thus, it's important to take note of the albums carefully to see who is exactly performing what. Songs on the albums often appear in the film as part of a larger medley under a different name, too. There has always been dissatisfaction with the discrepancies between the film and album versions of many of the songs; when the second commercial album of February 2002 states that a track features a "film version" of a particular recording, that track is often missing background vocals, instrumentation, or other musical elements that breathe life into the version heard in the film. Even the sound effects contribute positively to several musical pieces. As this review progresses, each of the songs and significant score cues will be discussed as they are heard in both the film and, in some cases, on the various CD albums. True fans of Moulin Rouge should match the following references to the direct DVD rips of the soundtrack that unfortunately remain the only truly accurate representations of the film's music (not to mention a source of several other instrumental goodies heard over the menus).

The film opens with the "mad conductor" sequence that includes a live style of symphonic performance of the 20th Century Fox studio theme, immediately followed by grandiose orchestral statements of three of the film's more notable adaptations: "The Sound of Music" by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II, "Le Tango du Moulin Rouge" by Marianito Mores, and "The Can Can" from "Orphee Aux Enfers" by Jacques Offenbach. This roughly one-minute sequence is not available on the initial albums. The first song of the film, as the audience swooshes over Paris and into the loop of the story, is an arrangement of "Nature Boy," performed vocally by David Bowie. John Leguizamo's character, the legendary Bohemian Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, uses the song to introduce the opening background and summarize the heartbreaking conclusion of the film. The orchestral accompaniment organized by Armstrong is impressive, and Bowie's performance covers Leguizamo in the film and is available on the first commercial album and promo. The next two songs, as the poet narrates his arrival in Paris and is ensnared in the Bohemian lifestyle, are "Complainte de la Butte" and "Children of the Revolution." The first is performed by Rufus Wainwright in both the film and on the first commercial album. The latter song is performed by the Bohemian characters in the film, but reverts to its Bono version on the first commercial album. None of the film recordings of the variants of "Children of the Revolution," including its massive reprise at the climax of the story, is available on any of the three albums. Also unavailable on album is what some viewers considered the first truly offensive adaptation in the film; Rodgers & Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music" is heard in bits and pieces throughout the narrative, but its most memorable employment occurs next. It highlights a hilarious scene in which the poet is accepted and embraced into the Bohemians' world with his wondrous ideas about stories for their productions. McGregor's impressive performance of the first two stanzas of the song (separated slightly by dialogue) is unreleased in any form. At only about fifteen seconds in combined length, this music may seem insignificant, but its impact in the film is anything but. The subsequent half hour of music is devoted to the Moulin Rouge club itself, and this is where the Moulin Rouge spectacle transcends into the realm of the really bizarre.

Bohemians As the poet succumbs to the power of absinthe, pieces of score and song material are twisted into a sound effect that includes "The Sound of Music" and "Nature Boy" as preludes to a powerful and glorious cast performance of "Children of the Revolution." Hysterical screaming and laughter are juxtaposed with a light, tingling percussive effect to represent the Green Fairy, a figment of the poet's imagination. The most outrageous medley of song adaptations in the entire film is the "Zidler's Rap" piece, during which Jim Broadbent invites us into his club as showman Harold Zidler. This medley is the one most often described as nauseating by detractors of the film, because it offers by far the harshest contrast of songs in any of the film's merging of styles (and it didn't help that there was plenty of flesh and slightly demonic visuals flashing around the scene's lush sets). It begins with a short intro written for Broadbent by music director Marius Devries, and then launches full steam into a remake of Pattie LaBelle's 1970's hit "Lady Marmalade," performed by the irritating, if not wildly popular grouping of Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, and Pink. After a short interlude of Kurt Cobain's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," the Fatboy Slim performance of "Because We Can" (which shot up in popularity after this film) rounds out the medley. Both "Lady Marmalade" and "Because We Can" appear in forms that resemble their film versions on the first commercial album. With the introduction of Satine to the Moulin Rouge production that night, the "Sparkling Diamonds" medley takes a less bass-heavy and more elegant approach. The medley is a substantial reworking of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" by Jule Styne and Leo Robin with one stanza of Madonna's "Material Girl" thrown in for good measure. An album-specific mix of the medley, complete with the appropriate sounds of female shrieks and orgasms, appears on the first commercial album. The second commercial album offers the most complete film version, with crisper performances by Kidman and Broadbent. In the time before the poet and courtesan first discover each others' identities, two more non-actor songs are cut and pasted into short scenes in the film. Both David Bowie's insufferable "Diamond Dogs" and Diane Warren's rather average "Rhythm of the Night" make brief appearances, though they get full treatment on the first commercial album. The latter song is also featured on the DVD of Moulin Rouge after the film concludes.

A reprise of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," cut short by Satine's fainting spell, returns to the jazzy big band format of the song's previous performances, bringing Moulin Rouge as close as it would ever come to the sound of a Busby Berkeley production. As the poet tries to explain himself to the courtesan after a mix-up of identity, the mood begins its full swing to the romantic side of the musical. Satine proceeds to tear off Christian's cloths and reveal his "huge talent," and Luhrmann spices up the environment with a wildly spirited orchestral performance of "The Can Can." Arguably the most popular adapted song in the film is the Elton John classic "Your Song," admirably performed with romantic sincerity by McGregor. Be aware that the album versions of this song, while containing tenor Alessandro Safina's background vocals, do not feature the same ensemble choral accompaniment of the Metro Voices. Kidman's reprise of "Your Song" in the subsequent scene (to the Duke) is only forty seconds in length, but is also performed with simple elegance. With a rushed mix of Marius Devries' own song "Meet Me in the Red Room" and one more passage of "Children of the Revolution" heard in this scene, the hard rock portion of the film is essentially finished ("Meet Me in the Red Room" appears on the second commercial album). A more satirical and comical can-can approach takes hold of the movie for a while, highlighted by the frenzied and enjoyably devious medley called "The Pitch." A very fast paced combination of "The Can Can," "The Sound of Music," and "Your Song" eventually reveals itself to be the only song of the film to feature original lyrics in addition to vocal performances by every major character. It's the highlight of the second commercial album as well, though some listeners will find the piece too choppy to appreciate as anything other than a comedy routine. The following ten minutes of the film are arguably its very best, with the love scene in the giant elephant house beside the club containing the flirtatious sparring between the poet and courtesan. Kidman's performance of the popular Will Jennings song "One Day I'll Fly Away" is remarkably assisted by Armstrong's robust orchestral and choral accompaniment, and the song appears on both the first commercial album and the promo. To hear McGregor's short, but lovely interjection of "Your Song" as Satine ascends the stairs of her elephant, however, the DVD remains the only option.

As the poet hears the courtesan longing for a better life, he builds steam in his approach to the infamous "Elephant Love Medley" by quoting passages, sometimes without song, from Andrew Scott and Trevor Griffin's "Love is Like Oxygen," Paul Francis Webster and Sammy Fain's "Love is a Many Splendored Thing," and Andrew Barlow and Louise Rhodes's "Gorecki." The "Elephant Love Medley" is by far the single highlight of the film, with breathtaking shots of the club and the two main characters falling in love atop the ridiculously opulent elephant. The structure of the medley systematically quotes one or two verses from each of its dozen song adaptations before moving on to the next nod. In order, the songs referenced are John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "All You Need is Love," Paul Stanley, Desmond Child, and Vini Poncia's "I Was Made for Lovin' You," Phil Collins' "One More Night," U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)," Kenneth Gample, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert's "Don't Leave Me This Way," Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs," Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Will Jennings' "Up Where We Belong," David Bowie and Brian Eno's "Heroes," Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," and again John's "Your Song." Once more, a magnificent tenor (Safina in the former song, Jamie Allen in this piece) lends an incredible voice to wordless vocals at the concluding crescendo to the "Elephant Love Medley." That medley is reason alone to pick up the first commercial album, though be aware that the mix is slightly different from the film version and it's missing the famous "you're going to be bad for business" line, as well as the tingling percussive effect and fireworks of celebration at the end. The emotional high point of the film, the subsequent "Rehearsal Montage" scene is scored with an extremely warm piano performance by Armstrong. The score begins to play a much larger role at this juncture in the film, as the gravity of the tragedy about to unfold is conveyed through cues like "The Duke's Demand" and "A Darker Force." All of these are included, along with "Satine is Dying" not long after, on Armstrong's promotional album. It is during this time that the film employs its joint love song for Christian and Satine. Originally written by David Baerwald for William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, "Come What May," is a grand ballad featuring Kidman and McGregor's most emotionally appealing performances. When the song was ruled ineligible for an Academy Award nomination, McGregor spoke publicly about his disgust with the verdict.

The Duke All of the love songs are generously represented across multiple albums. The film version of "Come What May" is available on the promo and second commercial album (though the sound quality of that song on the second commercial album is surprisingly poor, for some reason). The next song, another tip of the hat to Madonna, is perhaps the folly of the film. As the evil Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh) gets his hands deeper into the affairs of the Moulin Rouge, contributing to Satine's demise as he financially supports the club's new grand theatre, the Broadbent character of Zidler reassures the Duke about his choice of taking Satine as his wife. The consequent performance of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly's "Like a Virgin" is ridiculous in every way, with terrible (if not funny) vocals by the nasal-voiced Roxburgh. The perverse lyrics for this song, as to be expected, are the dirtiest of the whole film (causing even more protests from conservative religious groups), and a return to the big band orchestral style of accompaniment is alone a great asset. After this last comedy routine, though, the film dives very quickly and permanently into its inevitable despair. The betrayal medley "El Tango de Roxanne" accompanies a lengthy, downright creepy scene in the film, but at its heart is a beautiful and elegant dance scene with wonderful character vocals by Jacek Koman. A magnificent combination of Sting's "Roxanne," Marianito Mores' "Le Tango du Moulin Rouge," and eventually "Come What May" provide for one of the more chaotic, though beautiful split screen scenes in the film. The tango medley appears on the first commercial album and the promo in slightly differing forms, though it should be noted that neither includes the sound effects of the tapping shoes on the dance floor during the music, a sound that actually greatly enhances the music. From the wicked violin solos early in the cue to the crazed piano and string section chaos opposite McGregor's portion of the song, the instrumental backing in "El Tango de Roxanne" is not to be missed. The use of "Roxanne" and "Le Tango du Moulin Rouge" as counterpoint in the second half of this song (after the eye of the storm in the middle of the medley) is another highlight. When the courtesan realizes that the only way to save the poet's life is to leave him for the Duke, she performs the solemn song "Fool to Believe," written for the film by Armstrong and a host of others. Featuring a strong choral connection to the score material, this piece is pure Armstrong in its drab tone, and it is only available on the promo album.

Broadbent's surprisingly operatic performances become much more important at this point in the film. He accompanies Kidman with debatable sympathy in a short reprise of "One Day I'll Fly Away" at the end of "Fool to Believe," and the strength of his voice is the basis for the subsequent adaptation of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon's "The Show Must Go On." A determined and oppressively dramatic piece, this song confirms the impending death of the courtesan as the stage crews prepare the fateful evolution of the club. An extremely aggressive bass region eventually builds to one of Armstrong's typical rhythmic loops informed by the rock genre. The song makes an appearance on the second commercial album, but it does not match the film arrangement and isn't particularly pleasant in its depressing tone. As Satine carries out her plan, the score cue "Satine's Sacrifice" is largely obscured by the sound effects of thunder in the film; this short piece does not exist on album. The lengthy score cue that follows, "After the Storm," is indeed heard on the second commercial album. It explores, on melancholy strings and solo woodwind, elongated variations on "Your Song" that are guaranteed to sink your spirit. The club's ultimate production allows the story's one last major flourish before Satine's death. The medley "Hindi Sad Diamonds" is mostly an interpretation of Sameer's "Chamma Chamma," but it also dissolves into challenging renditions of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in its latter half (a smaller, original motif called "The Hindi," written by Steve Sharples, is performed by Leguizamo at the start). Appearing on the first commercial album, the medley is an overwhelming blast of hard rock and Indian-styled progressions simultaneously, with frantic performances by the harsh-voiced Alka Yagnik and Kidman as Satine approaches her fate. Zidler attempts to hide the confrontation in the middle of the show, performing a somber, poignant, and short "Wedding Vow" vocal that remains unreleased. The film's most powerful moments exist in the following reprises of "Come What May" and "Children of the Revolution," neither of which appear on any album for Moulin Rouge. As Satine sings to Christian as he walks away from the stage after interrupting the final show, she delicately expresses "Come What May" with minimal accompaniment. As both her voice gains strength and the orchestra swells, her inability to sing due to illness abruptly cuts her short. But the momentum this performance establishes for the final scene is tangible.

The climactic reprise of "Come What May" at the end of the film eventually includes McGregor's response (always to gasps of the on-screen audience) and the layering of both leads in one last resilient performance over resounding orchestral harmony. The chaos of the Duke's attempt to shoot Christian launches a comedic explosion of chaos, scored by wild bursts of parody-style recordings by Armstrong. Leguizamo opens the victorious, final statement of "Children of the Revolution," joined by the entire cast ensemble. Both McGregor and Kidman's performances of their character themes ("Your Song" and "One Day I'll Fly Away," respectively) are overlapped as counterpoint over the rest of the cast, and the entire group eventually reprises one last full performance of "Come What May" to essentially close out the film's major song content. The "Death and Ascension" cue by Armstrong, with compelling strings and choir, is perhaps the truest connection between Moulin Rouge and the rest of his scoring career. That cue eventually parlays directly into both an instrumental and vocal reprise of "Nature Boy" by McGregor, and the film concludes by pulling around in a full circle and starting at the beginning once again. The end credits of the film open with a piece that is odd in several ways; first, it is actually original for Moulin Rouge and, second, it has no connection to any of the rest of the material for the film. This is the film's most disappointing musical choice, because a rousing orchestral or vocal summary of the primary adaptations would have wrapped the entire production into an extremely neat package. There was also confusion over the fact that many listeners mistakenly thought that Armstrong wrote the oddly postmodern piece; it was, in truth, the work of Steve Sharples, who had been involved with the production of a few of the preceding songs for the film. Officially titled "Bolero," the piece offers simplistic rhythms with a maniac playing the violin and the Australian orchestra offering some meat on the bones of the propulsive, increasingly rapid rhythm. It has a sort of genuine carnival feel to it and, to the delight of many listeners, it was made available on the second commercial album. Unfortunately, the end credits music in the film consists of more than "Bolero." It concludes with a creaky, old violin solo that rises into orchestral crashes representing each of the four Bohemian virtues. This material is unreleased on album, nor has credit been properly attributed for its composition.

The underscore provided by Armstrong, along with some help from Chris Elliot, had a difficult task in Moulin Rouge, and this material (amounting to at least half an hour in length) deserves some discussion on its own. That unenviable task included the necessary weaving of all of the song adaptations together into one smooth, flowing series of related tones. Armstrong wrote a handful of original orchestral material for Moulin Rouge, but the majority of the score consists of instrumental adaptations of "Your Song," "Nature Boy," and "One Day I'll Fly Away." Small portions of Jacques Offenbach's "Gaite Parisienne" and "Orpheus in the Underworld," Rodgers & Hammerstein's "The Lonely Goatherd," Richard Karma Moffett's "Golden Bowls," and Marianito Mores' "Tanguera" are also quoted. Both Armstrong and Elliot orchestrated or performed extended variations of Bernie Taupin and Elton John's "Your Song;" Armstrong's own performance of the song was most widely used in the film, highlighted during the rehearsal scene, while Elliot's version held a lengthy spot later in the film. Two of Armstrong's performances of this theme exist on his promo album, with Elliot's appearing on the second commercial product. All of the other original cues of note are Armstrong's work. Among the most popular of his cues is the mesmerizing choral crescendo heard during Satine's death and ascension, and it is thankfully available on both the promo and the second commercial album. Among other notable cues written by Armstrong are the devilish "The Duke's Plan" and two different versions of "Satine's Theme." The latter theme, delicate in its piano performances, accompanies the somber scenes of Satine's demise in the second half of the film. The highlight of the score is the "Satine and Christian" theme for both the courtesan and poet, and this is the pulsating string and choir idea that captures the agony and frustration of the poet as his world turns from joy to sorrow in the final scenes. All of the aforementioned cues are available only on Armstrong's promotional album. In sum, there is about 20 minutes of original score available between all the albums. The promo also includes the robust, instrumental performance of "Nature Boy" that was edited into a few sequences in the film. There remain several orchestral cues unreleased on any album, most of which short in duration but worthy of attention. A summary of all of these source recordings could likely fill another CD, especially considering all of the incidental material mixed far in the background of some cues.

2001 Regular Album:
Only $11.99
Satine Overall, all of this piece-by-piece song and score analysis is irrelevant if you haven't been willing or able to appreciate the whole product in the film. The music is so dependent upon the spectacle of the visuals and the remarkable sound effects that it's difficult to separate them. The sound effects are an integral part of the listening experience, from the consistent swooshing that represents the windmill and quick character movements to singular moments like the wild ringing of a bell after Leguizamo announces "He's got a huge talent!" Thus, in many ways, no album experience can completely convey the aura of Moulin Rouge. Many of the hard rock and rap songs will be nearly intolerable on album for those looking strictly for the romantic material, especially on the first commercial album, but these elements fit perfectly into the larger picture. Armstrong's production work and marginal orchestral score could have gained him an Academy Award easily if the score had been considered eligible, even with the extremely tough competition from dramatic scores in 2001. His most vital contribution to the film was his incredible orchestral coordination, transforming rock songs into huge musical pieces and, at the same time, assisting in aiding the inexperienced voices of McGregor and Kidman. The overwhelming power of the orchestral and choral mixes, including the occasional vocals by the tenors in the background, transforms the highly unique parts of the musical into a consistent sonic powerhouse. As for the albums, this is an unfortunate case in which no one album will be sufficient. In fact, for serious fans of the film, no two albums will suffice. But for casual, mainstream viewers, those who desire the best songs in the picture, the two commercial albums will likely serve as the necessary souvenir. The second commercial album is significantly better than the first, including film versions of every included piece with the exception of one tepid and irritating remix track. The first album is still necessary, however, simply because it is the only source of the "Elephant Love Medley." The Armstrong promo will be the avenue for film music collectors to take, but keep in mind that the songs are the true heart and treasure of Moulin Rouge, not the underscore. Inevitably, if you want a piece of music from the movie badly enough, just purchase the DVD and transfer the song you want onto your computer's hard drive before burning your own Moulin Rouge compilation. Whatever you decide to do, you can't help but be blown away by the scope of this inventive film and its stunning music. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Music as Written and Adapted for the Film: *****
    Music as Heard on the First (2001) Commercial Album: ***
    Music as Heard on the Second (2002) Commercial Album: ****
    Music as Heard on the Promotional Album: ****
    Overall: ****

Bias Check:For Craig Armstrong reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.73 (in 11 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.34 (in 44,294 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 4.17 Stars
Smart Average: 3.98 Stars*
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   Promotional Album?
  Thomas Lucy -- 1/16/13 (6:27 p.m.)
   Re: Sparkling Diamonds -- the whole score
  Aria -- 5/23/11 (2:23 p.m.)
   Re: Come What May Chords
  David Baerwald -- 8/23/09 (4:14 p.m.)
   Re: El Tango De Roxanne
  Jinx -- 11/26/08 (3:13 p.m.)
   bolero and come what may...
  luxor -- 11/20/08 (9:40 a.m.)
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 Track Listings (First Commercial Album:): Total Time: 56:59

• 1. Nature Boy (3:25)
   David Bowie
• 2. Lady Marmalade (4:24)
   Christina Aguilera/Pink/Mya/Lil' Kim
• 3. Because We Can (3:27)
   Fatboy Slim/Jim Broadbent
• 4. Sparkling Diamonds (2:52)
   Nicole Kidman/Jim Broadbent/Caroline O'Connor/Natalie Mandoza/Lara Mulcahy
• 5. Rhythm of the Night (3:49)
• 6. Your Song (3:38)
   Ewan McGregor/Alessandro Safina
• 7. Children of the Revolution (2:59)
   Bono/Gavin Friday/Maurice Seezer
• 8. One Day I'll Fly Away (3:18)
   Nicole Kidman
• 9. Diamond Dogs (4:34)
• 10. Elephant Love Medley (4:13)
   Ewan McGregor/Nicole Kidman/Jamie Allen
• 11. Come What May (4:48)
   Ewan McGregor/Nicole Kidman
• 12. Le Tango de Roxanne (4:43)
   Ewan McGregor/Jose Feliciano/Jacek Koman
• 13. Compliante de la Butte (3:05)
   Rufus Wainwright
• 14. Hindi Sad Diamonds (3:28)
   Nicole Kidman/John Leguizamo/Alka Yagnik
• 15. Nature Boy (4:08)
   David Bowie/Massive Attack

 Track Listings (Second Commercial Album:): Total Time: 42:52

• 1. Your Song - Instrumental (2:28)
   Score from the "Rehearsal Montage" Scene (Arr. Craig Armstrong)
• 2. Sparkling Diamonds - Original Film Version (2:52)
   Nicole Kidman/Jim Broadbent/Caroline O'Connor/Natalie Mendoza/Lara Mulcahy (Arr. Steve Sidwell)
• 3. One Day I'll Fly Away - Tony Phillips remix (5:10)
   Nicole Kidman (Arr. Craig Armstrong)
• 4. The Pitch (Spectacular Spectacular) - Original Film Version (2:50)
   Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor/Jim Broadbent/Jacek Koman/John Leguizamo/Garry MacDonald/Richard Roxburgh/Matthew Whittet (Arr. Chris Elliot)
• 5. Come What May - Original Film Version (4:38)
   Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor (Arr. Craig Armstrong)
• 6. Like A Virgin - Original Film Version (3:10)
   Jim Broadbent/Richard Roxburgh/Anthony Weigh (Arr. Chris Elliot)
• 7. Meet Me in the Red Room - Original Film Version (2:38)
   Amiel Daemion (Arr. Marius DeVries)
• 8. Your Song - Instrumental (4:55)
   Score from the "After the Storm" Scene (Arr. Chris Elliot)
• 9. The Show Must Go On - Original Film Version (3:04)
   Jim Broadbent/Nicole Kidman/Anthony Weigh (Arr. Craig Armstrong)
• 10. Ascension/Nature Boy - Instrumental (4:09)
   Ewan McGregor/Score from the "Death and Ascension" Scene (Arr. Craig Armstrong/Chris Elliot)
• 11. Bolero (6:53)
   Score from the "Closing Credits" (Arr. Steve Sharples)

 Track Listings (Promotional Album:): Total Time: 42:01

• 1. Satine's Theme* (2:05)
   (Score composed by Craig Armstrong)
• 2. Nature Boy (3:26)
   David Bowie (Co-produced and arranged by Craig Armstrong)
• 3. The Duke's Plan* (1:25)
   (Score composed by Craig Armstrong)
• 4. One Day I'll Fly Away (3:17)
   Nicole Kidman (Co-produced and arranged by Craig Armstrong)
• 5. Your Song (String Version) (2:51)
   (Score additionally composed and arranged by Craig Armstrong)
• 6. El Tango de Roxanne (4:42)
   Ewan McGregor/Jose Feliciano/Jacek Koman (Co-produced and co-arranged by Craig Armstrong)
• 7. Satine and Christian's Theme* (2:09)
   (Score composed by Craig Armstrong)
• 8. Your Song (3:36)
   Ewan McGregor (Co-produced, orchestrated, and arranged by Craig Armstrong)
• 9. A Fool to Believe* (2:12)
   Nicole Kidman (Composed and arranged by Craig Armstrong)
• 10. Come What May (4:47)
   Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor (Orchestrated and arranged by Craig Armstrong)
• 11. Death Scene* (5:03)
   (Score composed by Craig Armstrong)
• 12. Nature Boy Instrumental* (3:29)
   Ewan McGregor (Co-produced and arranged by Craig Armstrong)
• 13. Satine Theme 2* (2:52)
   (Score composed by Craig Armstrong)

* Contains commercially unavailable material

 Notes and Quotes:  

The inserts of the two commercial albums contain extensive credits for each track, but include no information about the score or film. No Lyrics are provided either. The promotional album has sparse packaging, with only a track list and minimal artwork. When you see "BLAM" listed in the musical production credits, that is an acronym for the names Baz Luhrmann and Anton Monsted.

Full Production Credits for All Adapted Music:
(Contains all songs in chronological order as heard in the film)

    The Meeting • "Nature Boy"
       Written by: Eden Ahbez
       Performed by: David Bowie, John Leguizamo
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams and Craig Armstrong

    • "Compliante de la Butte"
       Music by: Georges Van Parys
       Lyrics by: Jean Renoir
       Performed by: Rufus Wainwright
       Produced by: Michel Pepin and Rufus Wainwright
       Rufus Wainwright performs courtesy of Dreamworks Records

    • "Children of the Revolution"
       Written by: Marc Bolan
       Performed by: Marius Devries
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams and Marius DeVries

    • "The Sound of Music"
       Written by: Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
       Performed by: Ewan McGregor
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams and Marius DeVries

    • "Children of the Revolution"
       Written by: Marc Bolan
       Performed by: Ewan McGregor, Jacek Koman, John Leguizamo, Garry MacDonald, Kylie Minogue, Ozzy Osbourne, and Matthew Whittet
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams and Marius DeVries
       Kylie Minogue performs courtesy of Parlophone Records and Festival Mushroom Records
       Ozzy Osbourne performs courtesy of Epic Records

    • "Zidler's Rap (Medley)"

      • "Zidler's Rap"
         Written by: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce and Marius DeVries
         Performed by: Jim Broadbent
         Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams and Marius DeVries
      • "Lady Marmalade"
         Written by: Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan
         Performed by: Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink
         Produced by: Missy Elliott for Mass Confusion Productions, Inc. and Rockwilder for F-5 Productions, Inc.
         Christina Aguilera performs courtesy of The RCA Music Group
         Lil' Kim performs courtesy of Queen Bee Entertainment, Inc./Undeas/Atlantic Recording Corporation
         Mya performs courtesy of A&M Records
         Pink performs courtesy of Laface Records
      • "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
         Written by: Kurt Cobain, Chris Novoselic and Dave Grohl
         Produced by: Danny Saber
      • "Because We Can"
         Written by: Norman Cook
         Performed and Produced by: Fatboy Slim
         Fatboy Slim performs courtesy of Astralwerks/Skint Records

    • "Sparkling Diamonds (Medley)"

      • "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"
         Written by: Jule Styne and Leo Robin
         Performed by: Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, Natalie Mendoza, Lara Mulcahy and Caroline O'Connor
         Natalie Mendoza performs courtesy of EMI Music Australia Pty (Limited)
         Produced by Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Craig Armstrong, and Marius DeVries
      • "Material Girl"
         Written by: Peter H. Brown and Robert S. Rans
         Performed by: Nicole Kidman, Natalie Mendoza, Lara Mulcahy and Caroline O'Connor
         Natalie Mendoza performs courtesy of EMI Music Australia Pty (Limited)
         Produced by Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Craig Armstrong, and Marius DeVries

    • "Diamond Dogs"
       Written by: David Bowie
       Performed and Produced by: Beck and Timbaland
       Beck performs courtesy of Geffen Records

    • "Rhythm of the Night"
       Written by: Diane Warren
       Performed by: Valeria
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Marius DeVries, and Alexis Smith
       Valeria performs courtesy of Records

    • "Your Song"
       Written by: Elton John and Bernie Taupin
       Performed by: Ewan McGregor and Alessandro Safina
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Craig Armstrong, Marius DeVries, and Patrick Leonard

    • "Meet Me in the Red Room"
       Music by: Marius DeVries
       Lyrics by: Amiel
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams and Marius DeVries
       Amiel performs courtesy of Festival Mushroom Records

    • "Children of the Revolution"
       Written by: Marc Bolan
       Performed by: Bono, Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer
       Produced by: Richard "Biff" Stannard, Julian Gallagher, Bono, Gavin Friday, and Maurice Seezer
       Bono performs courtesy of Universal-Island Records UK

    • "The Pitch (Medley)"

      • "The Can Can from Orphee Aux Enfers"
         Music by: Jacques Offenbach
         The Pitch Can Can lyrics by: Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce

      • "The Sound of Music"
         Written by: Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
      • "Your Song"
         Written by: Elton John and Bernie Taupin
         Performed by: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, Jacek Koman, John Leguizamo, Garry MacDonald, Richard Roxburgh, and Matthew Whittet
         Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams and Marius DeVries

    • "One Day I'll Fly Away (Medley)"

      • "One Day I'll Fly Away"
         Written by: Will Jennings and Joe Sample
         Performed by: Nicole Kidman

      • "Your Song"
         Written by: Elton John and Bernie Taupin
         Performed by: Ewan McGregor
         Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Craig Armstrong, and Marius DeVries

      • "Love is Like Oxygen"
         Written by: Andrew Scott and Trevor Griffin
      • "Love is a Many Splendored Thing"
         Written by: Paul Francis Webster and Sammy Fain
      • "Gorecki"
         Written by: Andrew Barlow and Louise Rhodes
         Performed by: Nicole Kidman
         Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, and Josh G. Abrahams

    The Whores • "Elephant Love Medley"

      • "All You Need is Love"
         Written by: John Lennon and Paul McCartney
      • "I Was Made for Lovin' You"
         Written by: Paul Stanley, Desmond Child, and Vini Poncia
      • "One More Night"
         Written by: Phil Collins
      • "Pride (In the Name of Love)"
         Written by: U2
         Lyrics by: Bono and The Edge

      • "Don't Leave Me This Way"
         Written by: Kenneth Gample, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert
      • "Silly Love Songs"
         Written by: Paul McCartney
      • "Up Where We Belong"
         Written by: Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Will Jennings
      • "Heroes"
         Written by: David Bowie and Brian Eno
      • "I Will Always Love You"
         Written by: Dolly Parton
      • "Your Song"
         Written by: Elton John and Bernie Taupin
         Performed by: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor and Jamie Allen
         Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Craig Armstrong, and Marius DeVries

    • "Come What May"
       Written by: David Baerwald
       Performed by: Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Craig Armstrong, and Marius DeVries

    • "Like a Virgin"
       Written by: Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly
       Performed by: Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh and Anthony Weigh
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, and Marius DeVries

    • "El Tango de Roxanne (Medley)"

      • "Roxanne"
         Written by: Sting
         Performed by: Ewan McGregor, Jose Feliciano, Jacek Koman, and Richard Roxburgh
         Jose Feliciano performs courtesy of Universal Music Latino

      • "Le Tango du Moulin Rouge"
         Music by: Marianito Mores
         Lyrics by: Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce
         Performed by: Ewan McGregor, Jose Feliciano, Jacek Koman, and Richard Roxburgh
         Jose Feliciano performs courtesy of Universal Music Latino

      • "Come What May"
         Written by: David Baerwald
         Performed by: Nicole Kidman
         Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Craig Armstrong, and Marius DeVries

    • "Fool to Believe"
       Written by: Craig Armstrong, Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce, and Marius DeVries
       Performed by: Nicole Kidman
    "One Day I'll Fly Away"
       Written by: Will Jennings and Joe Sample
       Performed by: Nicole Kidman and Jim Broadbent
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Craig Armstrong, and Marius DeVries

    • "The Show Must Go On"
       Written by: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon
       Performed by: Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, and Anthony Weigh
       Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Josh G. Abrahams, Craig Armstrong, and Marius DeVries

    • "Hindi Sad Diamonds (Medley)"

      • "Chamma Chamma"
         Written by: Sameer
         Performed by: Alka Yagnik
         Song licenced courtesy of Dashmesh International Ltd.

      • "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"
         Written by: Jule Styne and Leo Robin
         Performed by: Nicole Kidman
         Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Marius DeVries, and Steve Sharples

      • "The Hindi"
         Written by: Steve Sharples
         Performed by: John Leguizamo
         Produced by: Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, Marius DeVries, and Steve Sharples

    • "Nature Boy"
       Written by: Eden Ahbez
       Performed by: David Bowie and Massive Attack
       Produced by: Robert "3D" Del Naja, Neil Davidge, and Craig Armstrong
       Massive Attack performs courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc./Virgin Records Limited

    • "Bolero" - Closing Credits
       Written and Produced by: Steve Sharples
       Solo Violin by: Simon Standage

    • Musical score features parts of:

      • "Gaite Parisienne"
         Written by: Jacques Offenbach
         Arranged by: Manuel Rosenthal

      • "Golden Bowls"
         Written and performed by: Richard Karma Moffett
         Courtesy of Padma Tapes

      • "The Lonely Goatherd"
         Written by: Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
      • "Nature Boy"
         Written by: Eden Ahbez
      • "One Day I'll Fly Away"
         Written by: Will Jennings and Joe Sample
      • "Tanguera"
         Written by: Marianito Mores
      • "Voyage to the Moon"
      • "Orpheus in the Underworld"
         Written by: Jacques Offenbach
      • "Your Song"
         Written by: Elton John and Bernie Taupin

  All artwork and sound clips from Moulin Rouge are Copyright © 2001, 2002, Interscope Records (Volume 1), Promotional Release, Interscope Records (Volume 2). The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/27/02 and last updated 1/7/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2002-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved. "Does that inspire you?"