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The Hours: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack

97 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, December 10, 2002
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Product Description

How better to score a movie that takes place in three tangentially related time periods than with music that strives for timelessness? The hallmarks of Philip Glass's minimalism serve The Hours well. The film, based on Michael Cunningham's novel, tells the stories of three women--Virginia Woolf in the early 1920s, a housewife just after World War II, and a book editor in the present--whose days relate in different ways to Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway. Yet rather than construct a sonic montage of these three time periods (perhaps some Ravel for Woolf, some Max Steiner for the housewife, some Enya for the editor), Hours producer Scott Rudin turned to Glass, a contemporary-classical composer who has had a substantial side career in film, most notably with Koyaanisqatsi. The familiar Glass sounds--the endlessly layered violins, the static melodies, the glacial rhythms--all lend a consistent aural foundation to a story that moves fluidly back and forth in time. The music is scored for orchestra, string quartet, and piano. Those plentiful strings lend a thick cushion, a triumph of tonal suspension, for the piano part, which Michael Riesman plays coolly, emphasizing what are often single notes separated by thoughtful silences, as well as short sets of scales cascading in slow motion. Not only will these compositional themes be familiar to fans of Glass's work, so too will several of the melodies. Some sections of the score are derived from his albums Glassworks and Solo Piano and from his opera Satyagraha--which, incidentally, involved the stories of three legendary men active in different eras. --Marc Weidenbaum
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 10, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: January 24, 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • ASIN: B00007BH3Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,468 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Choe on July 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
His music inspired the movie-literally. Michael Cunningham, the author of The Hours, was inspired by Glass in the writing of this novel and adeptly describes his influence in the leaflet of this soundtrack.
To begin with- he breaks all the rules. I bought the piano sheet music to "Dead Things" and where I naturally felt I should crescendo, he purposely demands pianississimo- very, very quiet. He purposely silences the most moving elements, as if to say "wait. just feel it first- dont take it."
I hate when people think his music is plain - if one understands music, they know that his work is composed of silk-thin layers of delicated melodies- triplets with one hand, doublets with the other. For those of you out there that dont read music, try to divide a second into 3 equal time frames and tap that beat with your left hand. Then take the same second and divide it into 2 equal time frames and tap that beat at the same time with your right hand. Intuitively, its difficult to do. This is his trademark- he forces musicians to play against their intuition.
As another example, try to tap your pinky and middle finger at the same time. Then tap your ring finger and thumb at the same time. Now alternate quickly. Try to do it for 5 minutes and when you have got that down- do it with your other hand. But use different fingers. And do that 3-2 ratio beat thing.
Confusing? I would certainly think so.
It seems as if such a product could only be made by an eccentric and unyielding mathematician- but when you listen, it has a depth of emotional delicacy that could only be compared to trying to hold onto something you truly love over the edge of the world, with a gradually thinning silver string.
I guess what Im saying is- pay the 10, 15 bucks. Its worth it.
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59 of 66 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on January 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I must admit to not being very familiar with Philip Glass' music, although being a movie fan I'm sure that I've heard him before. Sitting through the monumental film, "The Hours", you realize that this music is a flawless marriage of screen and soundtrack, and immediately, after the film ended, I found myself in the nearest music store, soundtrack in hand.
"The Hours" weaves a complex tale of the seemingly intermingled lives of three complex women, all dealing with various internal crises at significant points of their lives. Virginia Woolf, Clarissa Vaughn, and Laura Brown lives orbit around each other, as each feels their lives are insignificant, yet their significance reigns supreme around the lives of the other, hidden, deep, penetrating.
A film of this calibar requires an equally complex, moving score, and Glass not only provides it, but inspires the movie. Each piece illuminates and frames each scene without imperfection. In the theater, you sit in awe at the methodical action on the screen as your ears hear the fluid, grand movements and it's as if Glass is reading the mind of the audience scoring the movie as you think it should be. It is impossible to imagine this movie without the music, and the music without the movie.
While it is impossible for me to select a favorite piece among all of them, for this is a soundtrack which each pieces lends autheticity to the next, I must profess a love for the second track, "Morning Passage". There is a section towards the end of that piece when I was listening to it, I literally stopped what I was doing and listened intently, and then replayed it several times before continuing, a very strange act indeed.
I highly recommend this work: the emotional depth and honesty, the sadness and enlightment it provides is truly revolutionary.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Gladney on February 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
"The Hours" tells the story of three women in three different time periods -- 1923, 1951, and 2001. Their stories are interwoven exquisitely, and arch together in a profound, moving fashion. It is the best film of 2002. The score, composed by Philip Glass, tells the story of that story in such a beautiful way that, without it, the film would be a lesser entity, devoid of part of its essence.
This is like listening to a symphony, in 14 Movements. Having seen the film, this score will have quite a bit of meaning to you, but even if you haven't seen the movie, the score will should still resonate. It could easily be a stand-alone classical music piece. The tracks all have a similar sound, but yet, are uniquely different. This is a sad score, for it is a (mostly) sad film. Track 3, titled "Something She Has To Do", is probably my favorite. So somber, so moving.
Philip Glass has received an Oscar nomination for his score for "The Hours". It is well-deserved. His use of strings and piano are excellent. His ability to capture the feeling of the film is top notch. I can't recommend this score, or the movie it was written for, enough. The booklet which accompanies this music is quite comprehensive, featuring an introduction by Michael Cunningham, author of "The Hours", and then a description of the three women in each of the time periods covered in the movie.
As a remembrance of the movie, or as a piece of music all its own, the score to "The Hours" is a sumptuous aural experience that should be treasured for the great achievement that it is.
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The Hours: Music from the Motion Picture
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