Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Sunday, April 09, 2006

CD REVIEW - Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha
Music by John Williams
Sony Classical 82876 77857 2 (EU)
18 Tracks 61:11 mins

I thought it was about time I discovered what all the fuss was about, so invested in a copy of this award-winning score by the great John Williams.
Of course I would have to reserve my final judgment as to its award worthiness until I have actually seen the film, but as a CD, I would have to say that it's good, but a long way short of my favourite John Williams scores, and one I am unlikely to revisit that often.
From clips I had previously heard on the radio, it seemed very one-themed, but in fact there are two major themes and a lot more interesting work besides. The principal theme is "Sayuri's Theme," most often played by Yo-Yo Ma's expressive cello, but just occasionally Itzhak Perlman's violin gets to play with it. It's an elegant, yet melancholy theme, given good workouts by the strings in "The Journey to Hanamachi" and in a gently propulsive manner, with a percussive mid-section in "Becoming a Geisha." The "End Credits" feature both soloists in a strong set of variations to close the score.
The second major theme is "The Chairman's Waltz," which is just that a solid violin-lead waltz theme, which is given another good workout in "The Garden Meeting." Three other tracks standout, the catchy, violin-lead Oriental dance "Going to School;" "Destiny's Path," which positively flows with anticipation; and the increasingly emotional "A Dream Discarded."
Along the way Williams provides Oriental colour, utilising traditional instruments and there are some dark dramatics later on signalling "The Coming of War" and beyond.
Certainly more consistently enjoyable than Munich or War of the Worlds then, but Williams' music for the final instalment in the Star Wars saga remains my favourite of his recent output.


Post a Comment

<< Home