might say that Tibetan art is as brightlyhued as
the fivecolored flags that represent blue sky, white
clouds, red fire, green grass and yellow earth.
Visitors to Tibet are invariably impressed by the
local peopIe's power of imagination and boldness
of expression in their artistic forms. Religious
doctrines have not stifled their creativity. Rather,
they have given wings to their imagination. Talent,
gifted by Heaven and Earth, shines forth in all
their works of art, from architecture to clothing
and decorations, from furniture to articles of daily
Seven Years in
Tibet: (John Williams) After the superb use of Randy
Edelman's Dragonheart music in this film's primary
trailers, it was hard to imagine how any other music
could fit better with the images in Seven Years
in Tibet. From the very outset of this score, however,
John Williams' majestic touch of theme and suspense
make that trailer discussion a long, lost memory.
There's no doubt
this score will give John Williams another free
pass to the Academy Award ceremonies, and of the
contenders (or lack of) so far this year, it certainly
would win the award. Williams re-visits --sometimes
almost too closely-- the power of dramatic orchestra
last heard in Schindler's List, replacing Perlman's
violin with Ma's cello. But Seven Years in Tibet
is not as over-poweringly consistent as Schindler's
List. This score contains plentiful moments of very
quiet solos and dead silence. Its emotional level,
although more than adequate in the film, lacks behind
that of Schindler's List.
But to compare any
score --Williams or otherwise-- to a classic such
as Schindler's List is somewhat unfair, so I'll
take this time to analyze the score on its own.
The opening track begins with a theme that will
send chills up your spine. It is very heavy on the
strings. The entire score features strings over
any other orchestral section, yet they are powerful,
resilient strings rather than lush, weeping ones.
The cello solos are impressive, however don't play
as large of a role into the score as whole even
though Ma performs during almost every track. His
solo performances represent more spiritual, soft
moments of the score, with little accompaniment
by the orchestra as a whole. This is unfortunate
because some of my favorite moments in the score
come when the cello solos are joined and the succeeded
by the orchestra.
The orchestra, as
you might expect, is absolutely huge. The CD case
boasts about the 24-bit technology used "to maximize
sound quality" and it definitely delivers. The main,
sweeping theme, as heard in tracks 1, 3, and 14
sound brilliant in surround sound at home or in
the theater. The other moments in the score are
much more ethnic than the opening tracks would lead
you to believe. Two tracks contain religious chanting,
and others contain flutes and drums consistent with
the area. The turbulent moments in the middle to
latter half of the score are along the same lines
as those in Nixon, however here they are more enjoyable
because of thematic loyalty. In these regards, they
are much like the turmoil felt in Presumed Innocent.
During these moments in Seven Years in Tibet, John
Williams really cooks. Track 13 is an elegant break
to the suspense. The final track is a reprise, which
is becoming a routine in recent Williams scores.
The performance is different, though --a nice surprise.
Read more reviews,
listen to audio clips, and buy the score at:
Overall, this score
barely misses the five-star mark simply because
it is one tiny step behind Schindler's List. I know
this is unfair in some ways, but I know that most
of us do make such comparisons when we listen to
our CDs. The theme may excel beyond other Williams
themes of the last decade, but the quiet music in
the middle doesn't evoke the same emotional response
that Schindler's List did throughout the whole score.
Otherwise, this is surely a good buy. I was a bit
disappointed by this year's Rosewood and The Lost
World after a few months of repeat listenings. I
have a distinct feeling, though, that this score
will be far more enjoyable in the long run --both
before and after it wins all its inevitable awards...
Orchestrated, and Produced by: