Composed By: Mark Kilian

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In the new HBO documentary 41, George H.W. Bush discusses the story of his life, from his childhood in Kennebunkport, Maine to his service during World War II, his marriage to Barbara, his time as Director of the CIA, his time as President of the United States to his return to a normal life afterwards.  An intimate look into the life of the former President, 41 takes on the private moments in his life and the many of events that helped shape who he was and the country itself.

            The musical score of 41 was created by composer Mark Kilian.  Born in South Africa, Mark Killian moved to the United States to pursue a career in film scoring in 1994.  Upon his completion of his studies at USC's Film Scoring Program, Kilian was hired on as an assistant to composer Christopher Young.  By 1997, he had composed his first feature film score for Lovergirl.  Since then, Kilian has composed scores for films like Traitor, Rendition, Before the Rains, Tsotsi, La Mission, The Least Among You and Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day.

            Known for musical score featuring a variety of instruments and an amazing display of raw emotion communicated through sound, Kilian decided to take a more intimate approach in the creation of the musical score for 41.  According to Kilian, "I wanted to have the music enhance what the doc is - which is an intimate and warm portrait of man, his life and his family. It is not a critical study of the George H.W Bush presidency in any way, nor is it political or even presents an opinion. So the music is not political and big and explosive or anything like that. It is intimate, warm and mostly classical in nature drawing on the Americana sound."  To achieve this mood, Kilian used a thirteen-piece chamber orchestra.

            The score of 41 contains music with a heavy classical influence, relying greatly on strings and piano with a spattering of woodwinds here and there.  The album plays like a musical history lesson, featuring the sounds of the times.  The music also mirrors the ethnic flavor of the locales Bush visited and the people he had dealings with.  For example, Odesa, Texas features a country sound mixed with a Spanish influence; Operation Desert Storm is a harsh military sounding track, Gorbachev features a very distinctive Russian undertone, Saddam features Middle Eastern influence. 

            I was delighted to listen to yet another Mark Kilian musical score and discover a completely unique sound.  Some composers tend to get stale, never really wavering from a certain style and often using segments from older compositions to create new compositions.  Each and every Mark Kilian score is unique and perfectly tailored to the material it was created for.  The soundtrack of 41 makes for a terrific listener for any music fan, regardless of their interest in the movie itself.  Mark Kilian has done it again!


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at