Kurosawa Film Music of Akira Kurosawa
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Japanese compilation with the themes to 16 of the best-known films from the '40s through the '90s by Japan's most famous director, the late Akira Kurosawa. Also contains a 7 second spoken word track entitled 'Voice Of Kurosawa'. 17 cuts total, including the themes to 'Seven Samurai', 'Ikiru', 'The Throne Of Blood' and 'The Bad Sleep Well'. 1998 Fun House Records release.
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The tracks range from a simple re-mastering to complete re-arrangement. The first track, SUITE FROM THE SEVEN SAMURAI, is a selection of themes from the film. Much of this is taken from the intermission music which plays between reels, which includes the Farmer's Drone and Drums, the Samurai March, and the themes of Kikuchiyo and the Romance Theme.
For the most part, the opening credits music is selected from each movie. Of these, YOJIMBO and THE HIDDEN FORTRESS are probably the most accessible to Western listeners, with the latter being reminiscent of an epic Ben Hur and the former evoking the opening images of Toshiro Mifune walking.
Less successful are the modern re-arrangements from the later films, some of which sound like elevator music. The track from SANJURO, for example, has been re-arranged to evoke a loping, "lone cowboy" romp. (To be fair, of course, much of SANJURO's original music was taken from YOJIMBO, and there may not have been enough incidental to make a self-complete track.)
Listeners should also be aware that some computer-based CD players may have timing problems with the tracks. All in all, however, fans of Kurosawa will be delighted with this album.
Tracks: Music from the following Kurosawa films:
SEVEN SAMURAI (12 minute suite), IKIRU (theme), RECORD OF A LIVING BEING, THE THRONE OF BLOOD (main theme), THE LOWER DEPTHS, THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (theme), THE BAD SLEEP WELL, YOJIMBO (theme), SANJURO (song from trailer), HIGH AND LOW (theme), RED BEARD (suite, does not have chime-ambient song in film and featured on DVD menu), DODES'KADEN (suite), DERSU UZALA (Russian requiem), KAGEMUSHA (end theme), RAN (battle theme; edited), DREAMS (theme) ,VOICE OF KUROSAWA (saying "Ready . . . Action!")
*Note: All the songs are remastered in stereo, not redone or re-orchestrated. Good stuff!