The English Patient: Original Soundtrack Recording
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Anthony Minghella's Oscar-winning realization of Michael Ondaatje's intricate romance deservedly earned comparisons to David Lean's sweeping screen epics derived from strong literary sources. Like Lean, Minghella sought an equally thoughtful, yet ravishing musical counterpart that fleshes out a sympathetic orchestral score with allusions to the story's cultural milieu. The equation begins with Gabriel Yared's tender, brooding symphonic score, which mingles the film's poles of fate and passion with subtlety and restraint, then adds the exotic, mesmerizing voice of Marta Sebestyen (best known for her work with Muzsikas, the brilliant Hungarian folk revivalists, who also appear here), whose presence provides a literate clue to the title character's true identity. The film's '40s time-frame gains resonance and dramatic irony by pop songs from that era, including Benny Goodman swing classics and two versions of Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" (by Fred Astaire and Ella Fitzgerald, respectively). Add a pivotal Bach cue and this is a film package that works even if you don't know the film--and that much more powerfully if you do. --Sam Sutherland
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Top Customer Reviews
"The English Patient" soundtrack is beautiful. It begins like the beginning of the film, with some Arabic sounding music, something I'm usually not a particular fan of, but this is just beautiful. It comes across classical, only with someone singing. As much of the film takes place in the desert, the style is appropriate.
The film takes place in the 1930s - 1937, if my memory serves. Therefore, some songs are from that era, with artists such as Fred Astaire and Benny Goodman. The songs are in the film - Count Alamsy (our lead male character, played by actor Ralph Fiennes of 'Schindlers List', 'The Reader', 'Harry Potter', 'The End of the Affair', 'Red Dragon', etc.) is constantly singing, and it is something of a running joke in the film. One would think that the era would not mix with the Arabic music, but it does. Perfectly.
As a writer, I like to listen to this soundtrack as I write. It puts me in a mood like few CDs can. However, I have also listened to this soundtrack as I woke up, went to sleep, did the dishes, played a video game, and scrubbed floors - my ears had absolutely no objection.
The soundtrack is worth a listen, even if you cannot sit through the entire film (as it is rather long). Chances are, you will end up like me before I owned the soundtrack, and put the film in as background music, just so you can hear the lovely title song.
Without seeing the movie, you have no point of reference. Therefore, the soundtrack won't be bringing back to mind the various scenes and it won't have the same meaning.
However, the soundtrack is obviously performed well, and the quality of the CD was excellent.