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Front Cover
Back Cover
Deluxe Edition Front Cover
Avatar: Music from the Motion Picture
Album Information
Artist James Horner
Leona Lewis (theme song)
Producer Simon Rhodes
James Horner
Label Atlantic Records
Sony Music Entertainment Korea (Korea)
Released December 11, 2009 (MP3)
December 15, 2009 (Audio CD)
April 19, 2010 (Deluxe Edition)
Genre Soundtrack
Media type Audio CD and MP3
Disc # 1
Tracks 14
20 (Deluxe Edition)
Length 1:18:52
1:38:38 (Deluxe Edition)

B003GJSUIQ (MP3 Deluxe Edition) B002P5XXR0 (Audio CD) B003062NDS (Audio CD, discontinued)
B00313TUS6 (Audio CD Korean Edition)

EAN 0075678957611

8809217577105 (Korean Edition)

OCLC 501338441
Size 14.2 x 12.4 x 1 cm;
5.6 x 4.9 x 0.4 inch.
Weight 91 g; 0.2 pounds

Avatar: Music from the Motion Picture is the official soundtrack of the 20th Century Fox film Avatar. It was composed and conducted by James Horner. The theme song of the movie, named I See You is sung by Leona Lewis. The album was released on December 15, 2009, three days before the movie's worldwide premiere in theatres. A deluxe edition of soundtrack, featuring 6 new tracks, was released on April 19, 2010 to help promote the Blu-ray/DVD release. The deluxe edition is available in digital format only[1].

Track Listing[]

Lyrics for all tracks are written by James Horner, except for the theme song I See You which is performed by Leona Lewis and lyrics are written by James Horner, Simon Franglen and Thaddis Harrell. The 10th track The Destruction of "Hometree" features Horner's 4-note "danger" motif in the second half. Unreleased track Into the Na'vi World was available to be heard on the avatarscore.com website only, but has since been removed.

Standard Edition[]

  1. "You Don't Dream In Cryo..." - 6:09
  2. Jake Enters His Avatar World - 5:24
  3. Pure Spirits Of The Forest - 8:49
  4. The Bioluminiscence Of The Night - 3:37
  5. Becoming One Of "The People" Becoming One With Neytiri -7:49
  6. Climbing Up "Iknimaya - The Path To Heaven" - 3:18
  7. Jake's First Flight - 4:49
  8. Scorched Earth - 3:32
  9. Quaritch - 5:01
  10. The Destruction Of "Hometree" - 6:47
  11. Shutting Down Grace's Lab - 2:47
  12. Gathering All the Na'vi Clans For Battle - 5:14
  13. War - 11:21
  14. I See You (Theme from Avatar) - 4:21

Deluxe Edition[]

  1. "You Don't Dream In Cryo..." - 6:09
  2. Jake Enters His Avatar World - 5:24
  3. Pure Spirits Of The Forest - 8:49
  4. The Bioluminiscence Of The Night - 3:37
  5. Becoming One Of "The People" Becoming One With Neytiri - 7:49
  6. Climbing Up "Iknimaya - The Path To Heaven" - 3:18
  7. Jake's First Flight - 4:49
  8. Scorched Earth - 3:32
  9. Quaritch - 5:01
  10. The Destruction Of "Hometree" - 6:47
  11. Shutting Down Grace's Lab - 2:47
  12. Gathering All The Na'vi Clans For Battle - 5:14
  13. War - 11:21
  14. I See You (Theme from Avatar) - 4:21
  15. Pandora - 3:17 (Bonus)
  16. Viperwolves Attack - 3:49 (Bonus)
  17. Great Leonopteryx - 1:33 (Bonus)
  18. Escape From Hellgate - 3:25 (Bonus)
  19. Healing Ceremony - 2:21 (Bonus)
  20. The Death Of Quaritch - 5:20 (Bonus)

Unreleased Tracks[]



Music Composer and Conductor James Horner
Album Producer Simon Rhodes and James Horner
Score Recorded and Mixed by Simon Rhodes
Supervising Music Editor Jim Henrikson
Music Editor Dick Bernstein
Additional Music Editing Michael Bauer
Electronic Music Arranger Simon Franglen
Synthesizer Programming Ian Underwood and Aaron Martin
Score Orchestrator James Horner, J.A.C. Redford, Jon Kull, Nicholas Dodd, Gary K. Thomas
Orchestra Contractor Peter Rotter and Sandy DeCrescent
Choir Contractor Jasper Randall
Violin Soloist Clayton Haslop
Ethnic Woodwinds Tony Hinnigan
Boy Soprano Luca Franglen
Solo Vocalists Carmen Twillie, Clydene Jackson, Terry Wood, Karen Hogle Brown, Radka Varimezova, Lisbeth Scott
Music Preparator Bob Bornstein, Emmett Estren, David Wells
Music Scoring Coordinator Sylvia Wells

Score Recorded at The Newman Stage, Twentieth Century Fox Studios
Digital Recordist Kevin Globerman
Recordist Tim Lauber
Stage Managers Tom Steel and Dominic Gonzales
Engineer Denis St. Amand

Score Mixed at Record One Recording Studios & The Newman Stage
Score Mix Assistant Patrick Spain

Custom Orchestral Samples by Spitfire Audio
Music Assistant Ryan Johnson

Original Film Score Published by T C F Music Publishing, Inc. (ASCAP)
Executive in Charge of Music For Twentieth Century Fox Robert Kraft
Music Supervised for Twentieth Century Fox Mike Knobloch
Business Affairs for Twentieth Century Fox Tom Cavanaugh
Music Production Coordinator Rebecca Morellato
Executive Soundtrack Producers for Atlantic Records Craig Kallman and Kevin Weaver
Atlantic Records Business Affairs Erica Bellarosa
Atlantic Records Marketing James Lopez
Packaging Production Carolyn Tracey
Art Management and Production Rob Gold
Art Direction and Design David J. Harrigan III

Thanks Steve Barnett, Kim Cooper, Ted Gagliano, Michael Gorfaine, Joe Hartwick, Christopher Hogenson, Jon Landau, Cathy Merenda, Jo Ann Orgel, Kelly & Bob Persson, Nicole Pitesa, Areli Quirarte, Jamie Richardson, Stacey Robinson, Janace Tashijan, Jeffrey Taylor Light
Atlantic Records' Thanks Julie Greenwald, Livia Tortella, Jack McMorrow, Adam Abramson, Matt Engelman, Rich Wagner, John Crawford, Sean Rutkoswki, Amanda Alfieri, Dan Grossman, Rob Beatty, Eric Snowden, David Saslow, David Miller, Torsten Luth, Leona Lewis, Richard Griffiths, Harry Magee, Nicola Carson, Glenn Fukushima

I See You (Theme Song)[]

Performer Leona Lewis
Music by James Horner and Simon Franglen
Lyrics by Simon Franglen, Kuk Harrell and James Horner
Producer Simon Franglen and James Horner
Arranger Simon Franglen
Mixed by Simon Rhodes
Publisher Franglen Lupino Music, Horner Music In Motion, Suga Wuga Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Harmony and T C F Music Publishing, Inc. (ASCAP)
Leona Lewis performs courtesy of Syco Music


Choir Karen Hogle Brown, Terry Wood, Clydene Jackson, Elin Carlson, Claire Fedoruk, Lisbeth Scott, Elissa Johnston, Lika Miyake, Jennifer Graham, Joan Beal, Ayana Haviv, Amy Fogerson, Sharmila Guha, Drea Pressley, Nike St. Clair, Leanna Brand, Kimberly Switzer, Michele Hemmings, Edie Lehmann Boddicker, Donna Medine, Chris Gambol, Shawn Kirchner, Michael Lichtenauer, Jonathan Mack, Chris Mann, Gerald White, Daniel Chaney, Sean Mcdermott, Tonoccus Mcclain, Reid Bruton, Randy Crenshaw, Michael Geiger, Scott Graff, Jules Green, Gregg Geiger, Ed Levy, Marc Pritchett, Stephen Grimm, Mark Edward Smith, Mark Beasom
Violins Clayton Haslop - CM, Julie Ann Gigante– P2, Jacqueline Brand, Rebecca Bunnell, Roberto Cani, Ron Clark, Kevin Connolly, David Ewart, Galina Golovin, Endre Granat, Henry Gronnier, Alan Grunfeld, Tamara Hatwan, Tiffany Hu, Miran Kojian, Aimee Kreston, Ana Landauer, Sungil Lee, Natalie Leggett, Phillip Levy, Alyssa Park, Sara Parkins, Radu Pieptea, Vladimir Polimatidi, Katia Popov, Rafael Rishik, Anatoly Rosinsky, Haim Shtrum, Tereza Stanislav, Shalini Vijayan, Roger Wilkie, Kenneth Yerke
Violas Pamela Goldsmith – 1st, Robert Brophy, Gina Coletti, Brian Dembow, Thomas Diener, Andrew Duckles, Alma Fernandez, Marlow Fisher, Samuel Formicola, Matthew Funes, Steven Gordon, Keith Greene, Jennie Hansen, Peter Jandula-Hudson, Roland Kato, Shawn Mann, Darrin Mc. Cann, Victoria Miskolczy, Maria Newman, Michael Nowak, Cassandra Richburg, David Walther
Celli Timothy Landauer – 1st, Antony Cooke, Erika Duke-kirkpatrick, Steve Erdody, Christine Ermacoff, Paula Hochhalter, Dennis Karmazyn, Dane Little, George Kim Scholes, Andrew Shulman
Bass Michael Valerio – 1st, Nico Carmine Abondolo, Drew D. Dembowski, Oscar Hidalgo, Christian Kollgaard, David Parmeter, Susan Ranney, Frances Wu
Flutes David Shostac – 1st, Geraldine Rotella
Clarinets Gary Bovyer – 1st, Joshua Ranz, Ralph Williams
Oboes Barbara Northcutt – 1st, Lara Wickes
Bassoons Michael O'Donovan - 1st, Rose Corrigan, Kenneth Munday
Horns James Thatcher – 1st, Mark Adams, Steven Becknell, David Duke, David Everson, Daniel Kelley, Jenny Kim, Paul Klintworth, Brian O'Connor, Richard Todd
Trumpets David Washburn – 1st, Jon Lewis, Timothy Morrison, Barry Perkins
Trombones William Booth – 1st, Alexander Iles, Andrew Malloy, Robert Sanders, George Thatcher
Tubas James Self
Percussion Robert Zimmitti – 1st, Alan Estes, Michael Fisher, Peter Limonick, Donald Williams (Timpani)
Piano/Synth Simon Franglen, Aaron Martin, Ian Underwood
Harps Jo Ann Turovsky – 1st, Marcia Dickstein


The soundtrack was received with mostly positive reviews, but sometimes called as a "recycled" soundtrack since James Horner used a few themes and cues from his previous work.

Allmusic (unfavorable) by James Christopher Monger[2]

Never one to shy away from familiar motifs, the vaguely wistful, mostly magical main theme that weaves its’ way throughout the film relies unapologetically on the composer’s Titanic love theme (try humming the first three notes of the chorus to the Horner-penned, Celine Dion smash My Heart Will Go On), but the overall feel of the score owes more to Ennio Morricone's iconic work on the Mission, utilizing an atmospheric blend of native drums and choirs with lush, traditional adventure orchestration. In an attempt to double up on his success with Dion in 1997, Cameron and Horner recruited English pop and R&B, post-reality show singer Leona Lewis for the torch ballad I See You, a forgettable piece of grocery store balladry that (unlike the schmaltzy, but appropriate My Heart Will Go On) feels ridiculously out of place, especially in a film about 10 foot tall blue aliens.

BBC (positive) by Mike Diver[3]

While it’ll appeal mostly to fans of the movie – of whom there are sure to be several thousand already – Horner’s Avatar score stands up well as an independent listen, too. Such are its nuances that it necessitates a detailed listen, and that one will only lead to further explorations as every subtlety is sought out for enjoyment. The final, complete picture in the mind’s eye is a wonderful one; that it’s matched on screen is testament indeed to Cameron’s unfaltering creativity.

Den of Geek (5/5) by Charlie Brigden[4]

So is James Horner back with a vengeance? Indeed he is. Avatar is very, very good and with 2009 not exactly being a stellar year for great new film scores, it's nice to see the year end with what is probably its best. It's perhaps not as flashy as some of the more popular soundtracks, but there's certainly more under the surface that's rewarded with multiple listens. It's already got a Golden Globe nomination, so we'll see if it makes a splash at the award ceremonies next year. It certainly deserves to.

Empire (4/5) by Ian Freer[5]

You probably thought you had the Avatar score pegged before you saw a frame of the film: ethnic percussion, choral chanting and a drippy song at the end. Well, that’s only half the story, for while James Horner’s score does tick all those boxes, it does it with breathtaking breadth and depth. So we get bizarro instrumentation (gamelan bells) next to traditional scoring (some beautiful stretches of solo violin), gorgeous enchantment (The Bioluminescence Of The Night), juxtaposed with raw battle music (The Destruction Of Hometree, War). But what really surprises is a lachrymose quality that gives the piece real weight. Not all of it sticks, but at its best, as on Becoming One Of “The People”/Becoming One With Neytiri and Jake’s First Flight, it is Horner on tip-top form. The less said about the Leona Lewis ballad I See You, the better.

FilmScoreClickTrack (2.5/5) by Jim Lochner[6]

As to be expected, the orchestral and vocal elements give an excellent performance of the score. And Horner and his engineers certainly know what they’re doing in the sound booth. But the tracks on the CD do nothing to enhance the listening experience and one track sounds much the same as the next.

Most audiences wouldn’t be able to identify, much less care about, Horner’s self-plagiarism even if you told them, nor should they. But that doesn’t mean it should be swept under the rug. In a film that prides itself on new technology and a brand new world, it is not unreasonable to expect that the score supports that world. I understand that Horner didn’t want to necessarily rock the musical boat harmonically and instrumentally. But it’s a shame that the result of 18 month’s of work has resulted in something so completely unmemorable, unremarkable, and largely unoriginal. There is no denying the compositional craft on display, but Cameron’s visuals deserved better.

The disappointment generated by the AVATAR score is out of this world.

Filmtracks (5/5)[7]

Filmtracks praised all the tracks, but I See You had some slippy moments.

The minimum it deserves is four stars; there is no justification for going lower than that, because despite any concerns over the re-use, the assembly of the parts for this truly epic cinematic event makes for a formidable product. Sure, Horner's forcing of themes from The Four Feathers and Glory into obvious roles in Avatar is awkward (and a continued disappointment), but for those without those CDs on their shelves, does it really make that much of a difference in a context such as this? If you compare Avatar to the other scores of 2009, there's really nothing that can touch it in terms of ambition. This is a powerhouse of a score that ranks among the most diverse and thoughtful in Horner's career, poised to make the kind of waves last caused by Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings music. Horner's development and especially manipulation of his themes for Avatar is extremely intelligent, addressing each circumstance with the kind of precision in alteration heard last in Shore's famous trilogy. Perhaps no better example of this technique exists than the cue "Into the Na'vi World," a 90-second teaser that was available as a preview on the score's official website. All three of the score's major themes exist in slightly masked form in this cue. It opens with the main discovery/romance theme under the plucked string accents and over a strong bed of percussion, but the progression, in its enthusiasm, has been given a few extra notes over its four base shifts. It is followed at the halfway mark by fragments of the culture theme on large-scale brass and strings, concluding with the battle theme on brass and pairs of the Na'vi defiance call in unison. It's a spectacular recording that is not available on the album release (and considered by some fans to be a "bonus cue"), and if this is the kind of material that didn't make the album, then what else awaits the ears of film score enthusiasts? Horner claims to have put the same level of passion and detail into all three hours of music for Avatar, so even if you find the commercial album lacking, the score likely has much more to offer. The twenty minutes of Na'vi material in the middle of that limited album, as well as the rowdy action rhythms and solemn conclusion to "War," counter a mundane song and re-use issues to return Horner to five-star status. That rating represents the entire recording, though, one that will hopefully be commercially released someday, because you have to give Horner the benefit of the doubt when he says, "This film has been all of that and more."

IGN (8.9/10) by Brian Linder[8]

Brian Linder praised Climbing Up Iknimaya, considering it as if it gave a sense of majesty that would leave the listener breathless. As the other critics, I See You was criticized, stating: "We're not sure if "I See You" will become as annoyingly ubiquitous as the aforementioned Celine Dion weeper, but it's definitely a solid pop ballad."

Horner has created a series of epic, evocative compositions that will do plenty to enhance James Cameron's big-screen vision. And while it's not some sort of game-changing, groundbreaking work of original creative genius, Horner's score for Avatar certainly qualifies as a masterpiece in our book. One that's likely to be recognized as such come awards season.

Kurticus Music (5.5/10)[9]

In general, the soundtrack is about what I would have expected: the imagery of the movie is only hinted at throughout the score; the motives are present, consistent, yet manipulated to show progression. The orchestration is standard, and feels a little overused, but it is a vast improvement from his previous big film score. The important thing is that it is not distracting. By no means is it really engaging, but it is not distracting, and I feel as though it does what it was intended to do: support the storyline of the movie rather than evolving along with it.

Soundtrack Geek (9.5/10) by Jorn Tillnes[10]

I could probably say a lot more about this score and James Horner and I’ll say this much. James Cameron has got the perfect score for Avatar, even though the score itself is not perfect. James Horner has spent over a year making this, but that doesn’t matter in the end. Hans Zimmer created Lion King in about 3 weeks, so it can work for you or against you, when you spend a lot of time on something. In this case, this is his best score since Beyond Borders in 2003. I wanted to give this a 10, but it’s not a 10 score overall due the following: The main theme doesn’t do it for me. I love James Horner’s themes, and the theme in Avatar is quite good, but I was expecting a lot more. The year is coming to an end and I feel this is one of the best scores this year. People are whispering about Oscars due to the immense success of the movie. Who knows? I would personally be surprised to see Horner’s name when the nominations are released. Oscar-worthy or not, it’s a solid score worthy of the praise the movie has gotten so far.

Suite101 (highly recommended) by David Abraham Dueck[11]

Significant amounts of music from the nearly three-hour film are left off the 78-minute album, which serves as a functional overview of the score's basic intentions and ensemble constructions, but fails to accurately represent each aspect and nuance of what is arguably the year's most ambitious score. The song "I See You," performed by Leona Lewis at the end of the product, is mostly inoffensive but remarkably melodramatic, and is a disappointing use of disc space.

Hopefully the unpublished music is made available soon, but for now one should not hesitate to acquire and enjoy this score: it is James Horner in top form, and while it has its share of detractions, Avatar as a whole is nothing less than the most exciting score of the year, and of Horner's career in the 2000s. Highly recommended!

Tracksounds (7/10) by Christopher Coleman[12]

If I were to judge AVATAR simply on this soundtrack release, I could easily call it "much too familiar" to qualify as an excellent score; however, having seen the film, there clearly are a few significant pieces that didn't make their way to this soundtrack. Even with nearly 79 minutes of score released, there are cues left out that would make this soundtrack experience a more notable and enjoyable one. It would come as little surprise to me if there is a "MORE MUSIC FROM AVATAR" forthcoming. (If so, let's just pray it is devoid of dialogue from the movie.) Still, given proper supervision, such a release could help elevate the appreciation of JAMES HORNER's score even further. AVATAR is truly a breathtaking, cinematic achievement; one best enjoyed on the biggest of the big screens. Beyond that, there isn't anything "gamechanging" about the film and that extends down to JAMES HORNER's score. But let's be honest, how many "gamechanging," film scores are there? Despite Horner's score not earning such a lofty label, his score for AVATAR contains some stellar work and despite it being full of his famous signatures there's enough creative pathos to satisfy even some of his harsher critics...at least until the sequels arrive.


Chart Peak position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[13] 89
Austrian Albums Chart[14] 11
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[14] 26
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[14] 55
Czech IFPI Album Chart[15] 26
Dutch Albums Chart[14] 74
French Albums Chart[14] 19
French Digital Albums Chart[16] 1
German Albums Chart[17] 10
Greek Albums Chart[18] 55
Mexican Albums Chart[14] 69
Spanish Albums Chart[14] 71
Swiss Albums Chart[14] 9
U.S. Billboard 200 Chart<ref[19] 31
U.S. Billboard Digital Albums[19] 4
U.S. Billboard Soundtrack Albums[19] 5


The physical CD contains a printed booklet insert which includes the following:

  • Cover artwork
  • A Note About the Avatar Score from the Director
  • A Note About the Avatar Score from the Composer
  • Credits for the production of the album including composition, recording, mixing, mastering, etc.
  • Thank-yous and credits for the members of the orchestra, choir and others
  • Back cover with track listing and movie credit template

The digital MP3 album which can be purchased from Atlantic Records contains a PDF version of the booklet.

Director's Note[]

Our goal in making Avatar was to transport you to another world, not just a planet in another star system, but the primeval world that has existed in our dreams since before our history began. To watch Avatar, especially in 3D, is to dream lucidly, with your eyes wide open. The music had to match the images with its own power to transport us to a world of powerful emotions. It had to reach deep into our hearts, to allow us not only to see but to feel. The Na’vi say “no one can teach you to See,” by which they mean that understanding must come from within. The music is our key to the emotional understanding of this film.

James Horner knew when he took on the scoring of Avatar that it would be the challenge of a lifetime. He would need to reach deep within himself, to explore musical ideas he had dreamed of for many years. He knew that the fate of the movie rested on his shoulders, and his ability to take us to the exultant highs and heartbreaking lows of Jake Sully’s epic journey. The music is both classic in its orchestral power, but also connects us to the soul of the Na’vi through the use of indigenous rhythms and vocals. The raw intimacy of the human voice is unequalled in creating the heartbreak of Hometree’s destruction. These aching solo vocals give way to the might of low strings and superb high brass writing, as the orchestra sweeps us into battle, and through the tumult of defeat and ultimate salvation.

When I listen to the score, it brings tears to my eyes as I visualize the gathering of the clans, the mighty armies riding to battle, the charge of the direhorses, then the fall of the heroes, and Jake’s final desperate struggle to save the alien woman he loves and the world he has come to call home. And despite the awe and majesty in James’ music in these scenes, it is the scenes in which Jake learns to fly that, to me, are the heart of the film. And James’ music for those flight scenes combines with the images to create a magical moment of pure cinema, in which the heart and imagination take flight.

Bravo James and thank you. Your music is the heartbeat and spirit of the world of Avatar.

Composer's Note[]

AVATAR has been one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever been involved with, and I have never worked so closely with a group of musicians as I did on this film. My usual writing process is a very solitary experience, with the music being realized for the first time on the recording stage. On Avatar, synth programmers Aaron Martin, Ian Underwood and Simon Franglen, music editors Jim Henrikson and Dick Bernstein, my recording mixer Simon Rhodes and I spent the past year mocking up and editing the music as I’d write and orchestrate it each day. This allowed us to give Jim Cameron a facsimile of what my music sounded like against his film as the score developed. And this unique process enabled me to explore musical ideas that were both exotic and “other-worldly” as well as orchestral and conventional.

From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank these wonderful musicians. Each of them worked tirelessly and selflessly to help me realize my musical ideas, even as the picture evolved on a day-to-day basis and I constantly needed to re-write music to conform to newly edited scenes. I could never have accomplished creating and producing almost 3 hours of music without their unique and astonishing talents.

To Simon Franglen - I will never be able to thank you enough for your invaluable work on this score and your incredible collaboration on our song “I See You”.

To Jim Henrikson and Simon Rhodes – we have worked on so many films in so many ways but never before like this. I consider you both my indispensible brothers, and it is an honor to have worked with two men of such consummate professionalism, so quiet in what you do and yet so brilliant.

To the wonderful orchestrators and musicians, music contractor Peter Rotter, and to Bob Bornstein and his ultra-accurate copying staff, I humbly say thank you, thank you all.

Special thanks also to the Fox Music Department - to Robert Kraft, who so spectacularly rose to the occasion and was so instrumental in keeping our precious song on the radar… and to Mike Knobloch and Rebecca Morellato for their help and support throughout a difficult and challenging project. You always looked after my guys and me, and for that I am so very grateful.

Thanks also to the always gregarious and cheerful Jon Landau, who was a complete gentleman during the entire process and who, as producer, may have had the hardest job on the whole film!

Finally, I must thank Jim Cameron. Working on your film has been an amazing experience. You and I were way out on the “creaking tree limbs”, but as you once told me, that’s the only place a consummate filmmaker should be. It’s been a privilege and an honor working with you on something that surely will be an historic moment in storytelling through cinema.