Kundun: Music From The Original Soundtrack Soundtrack
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One of the reviewers below complains that this music isn't Tibetan enough. This is like complaining that Beethoven doesn't use Flemish folk songs enough. If you want traditional Tibetan music, buy some. If you want Philip Glass, buy "Kundun".
It's true that the music is vaguely reminiscent of "Koyaanisqatsi". This is not necessarily a bad thing, "Koyaanisqatsi" being one of Glass's greatest works.
Some of the music is also reminiscent of Bernard Herrman's score for "Journey to the Center of the Earth". Since Glass is a Minimalist instead of a Romantic like Herrman, however, don't expect to hear the great bursts of emotion you find in "Journey to the Center of the Earth". On the other hand, Herrman followed the action of the movie so closely that his score sounds like a series of unconnected pieces. "Kundun" is far more unified, and you feel like you've heard a symphony when it's over.
One of the reviewers complains that the orchestra doesn't seem to contain many Tibetan instruments. I wonder how many Westerners can recognize Tibetan instruments when they hear them. If you look at traditional non-Western instruments all over the world, you find the same general themes over and over again: flutes (like the Andean pan-pipes), horns (like the Tibetan horns heard in this music), drums, and stringed instruments (like the Chinese biba or the Japanese koto). It takes a sensitive ear to hear the difference between one of these instruments and the Western equivalent.
The horror of the Tibetan tragedy is painted in dark musical strokes, contrasted with delicate bells and chimes which can only represent the implacable dignity of the Tibetan people.
This score tells the sobering story in its own way, perhaps in a more emotionally compelling way, than does the film. Not to be missed. A true tour de force.
I beleive it is a true work of art/ labor of love that didn't receive the recognition it so much deserves.
Let me skip to the big point-- the last 10 minutes of this film is a near perfect blend of music that is spot- on for the subject matter, which is enlightenment.
My guess is that a *very conscious* person had a lot to do with the creation, blending & timing of the music, script and film, especially for the last ten minutes-- OR that it was a total coincidence that it came out to be so near perfect. (either is very much in keeping with the movie's theme, which is NOT the Dalai Lama at all, but enlightenment)
Not for everyone, and I'm afraid I may have built it up in your mind too highly, so that you'll feel let down by the actual expereince of the music itself, I can say that *everytime* I listen to the last ten minutes especially (titled Escape to India), I cry for joy at *experiencing* a few minutes of the most sublime enlightenment, tears, sorrow & simple joy and wonder at being alive in this dance of life myself.
Thank you, Phillip Glass, Martin Scorcese and all those involved in this brilliant study of how a culture's focus on a single individual being assumed to be enlightened-- and his training to actually act the part, resulted in a person of great compassion, richness and insight.
In other words, their culture made him enlightened by treating him as enlightened.
What if we were all assumed to be enlightened and treated as such-- what difference would that make to you, at this very moment, dear reader, as you absorb these words? If that sentence has any impact on you at all, then you'll likely be *deeply moved* by both the movie and soundtrack.
Not less than a week ago I wrote a five-star review of the excellent Powaqqatsi soundtrack, relaying how great I thought the music was while knock, knocking Philip Glass for his repetition. After that I began browsing through the other Glass listings, listening to the samples. Later, I saw the Kundun DVD at my video store, and decided to watch it again. The next day, I searched out the soundtrack. I have to take back the statement I made about never having to hear another Glass score. Granted, all of his music seems to be variations of a similar theme, but he can take that in many directions. Kundun has an entirely different feel than Powaqqatsi. It is meditative, while Powaqqatsi is like a celebration of life. I own two Glass albums now, and now it seems likely that I'll own three (the Glass/Shankar collaboration looks appealing). I wouldn't have been able to fathom that a year ago.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really moving movie and the soundtrack was a great backdrop so it comes to mind easily when listening to this fine Phillip Glass score. Read morePublished 19 months ago by rjd
If you loved the movie - as I did - this CD is for you. KUNDUN was a work of art depicting the Tibetan tragedy with unbelievable
beauty. Read more
Not only is this a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack to draw you in to the various scenes of the movie, it is a beautiful integration of both Tibetan music, musical instruments, and... Read morePublished on October 26, 2013 by Patricia I.
Well at least the soundtrack is better than the movie. And let's be honest, Mr Glass is a hell of a composer. Read morePublished on October 19, 2012 by "Belgo Geordie"
This is a great soundtrack, it is fun and ejoyable to listen to. The best songs on this cd are all of themPublished on May 12, 2011 by David
The movie is great and the music fits the movie very well. But without the movie to watch, the music isn't very interesting. Read morePublished on November 2, 2007 by Redgecko
You may like Glass, you may like his previous film music, but you may not like this. Just sharing the category I'm in! Read morePublished on May 22, 2000 by gtra1n
A film score like this comes around very rarely-Philip Glass''Kundun'is so powerful and inspired that one may wonder whether the music generated the brilliant movie or the other... Read morePublished on December 15, 1999 by Bete Noire