HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS tells of a passionate emotional journey, in which three people suffer for love - it tears them apart, yet they are willing to sacrifice everything for it. Shigeru UMEBAYASHI (Composer) career as a professional musician began when he led the legendary new-wave rock band EX to stardom in Japan. In the early 1980s, EX was selected to be the supporting band for Eric Clapton's Japan Tour.
The films of director Zhang Yimou have a panoramic sweep to them that deftly creates a fantastical vision of ancient Chinese culture for the screen. Yimou's eye for color and sense of drama demands a score that conveys the emotion, tradition and action of his movies. Here Shigeru Umebayashi tells each part of the story with a mix of traditional flute, drums, string instruments and, to a lesser degree, orchestra and moody-sounding synthesizers. The lilting melody of "Lovers" is particularly effective, simmering with a passion that leaves no doubt about the tone of the scene; it comes back to dramatic effect at other times in the film as well--the soundtrack closes with a soaring version of it by soprano Kathleen Battle. Similar to but not as heavy as Tan Dun's occasionally overbearing work on Yimous film Hero
, Umebayashi leans toward the subtle for this love story, and the film is better for it. Tad Hendrickson