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Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (1985 Film) Soundtrack

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

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Writer-director Paul Schrader's films are always as memorable for their music as they are for their visuals--sometimes more so. Think of Giorgio Moroder's synthesizers pulsing through Cat People; think of Blondie's anthem for American Gigolo; think of Scott Johnson's remarkable score for Patty Hearst--and think of the full suite of music composed by Philip Glass for Schrader's ode to the deeply conflicted Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima. With its gilded, impressionistic set and its plot-eschewing cinematic vision, Mishima depended upon Glass's compositions for grounding. Despite the Japanese setting, the music is pan-global, typical of Glass's genre-absorbing minimalist style. A standout track is "Osamu's Theme," which features a catchy rock & roll guitar part against a string setting. And the album's quartets feature none other than the Kronos Quartet. --Marc Weidenbaum

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Mishima/Opening
  2. November 25: Morning
  3. 1934: Grandmother & Kimitake
  4. Temple Of The Golden Pavilion ('Like Some Enormous Music')
  5. Osamu's Theme: Kyoko's House
  6. 1937: Saint Sebastian
  7. Kyoko's House ('Stage Blood Is Not Enough')
  8. November 25: Ichigaya
  9. 1957: Award Montage
  10. Runaway Horses ('Poetry Written With A Splash Of Blood')
  11. 1962: Body Building
  12. November 25: The Last Day
  13. F-104: Epilogue From Sun And Steel
  14. Mishima/Closing


Product Details

  • Performer: Kronos Quartet
  • Composer: Philip Glass
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • ASIN: B000005IXM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,969 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I have listened to other Phillip Glass works. I find Phillip Glass to be abstract, like a Rothko painting. It is mesmerizing and challenging, but rarely does it take you a level of passion that this work, Mishima, does.
Perhaps it is the subject matter. The complex and not easily explainable life of writer Yukio Mishima.
The movie studies the odd life of Mishima by examining his novels. The underlying themes of self-obsession, narcism, deep passion, and aweseome forces of beauty through death, are captured very well through musical expression.
Each piece captures some essence of its subject matter, without being pandering or obvious. Other than the wind chimes in the Intro, there are no obvious references to Japanese music, ala Madame Butterfly.
The melodic elements are most certainly western, yet its interpretation of the human feelings behind each of the stories is quite universal and rises above stereotype. You need not love Japan or Japanese music or literature to love this work.
It uses the traditional dramatic structure of a movie to move you from scene to scene. The final climax of Mishima's suicide is understood musically, as the the climax of a life's work. Whether or not we morally agree with Mishima's act, it serves as a symbol how each us move to some sort of great work of art which is our own lives.
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This is one of the most passionately spiritual pieces of music I have ever heard. Like all of Phillip Glass' scores, it stands well on its own as a seperate entity. Perhaps because of the subject matter and most definitely because of Glass' overt bent towards Eastern spirituality combined with his western rhythmic sensibilities, this disk is essential. I can't recommend it enough.
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for me at least. This was the first CD of his where the full emotional potential of his music was realized. Some credit is due the Kronos Quartet who have never been better then they are here. And the remainder goes to PG for moving beyond the confines of strict minimalism to incorporate elements of traditional melody and harmony within the rhythmic structure of his compositions.
This is accessible, powerful, emotional music and has never worn out its welcome.
BTW, the final scene in the Truman Show uses the main theme of this soundtrack, so if you found the triumphant "rush" of that finale compelling, you will love to hear the rest in this soundtrack.
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This wasn’t the first music by Philip Glass that I listened to but it was the first album of his I bought and it’s still one of my favorites by him. Recorded in extract as sound track to Paul Schrader’s brilliant movie, Mishima (in Schrader’s own words, “a mosaic film biography”) it seemed to me then and still seems eminently successful –in stirring up emotions, stressing the elegiac quality—love and peace-- of Mishima’s childhood in the achingly beautiful “1934: grandmother & Kimitake” and contrasting it with the part Western part Japanese bravado of his samurai stage. Everything I associate with Glass happens in this recording: the pulsing lines, simply harmonized, the pulses and crescendos and diminutions, the soft transition from one melody or rhythm line to another. But it works, and that’s not always been true with Glass’s music, in my opinion. (Vide the Low Symphony, based on themes from Brian Eno and David Bowie, and –my personal memory- how hard I found it to sit though a solo concert of his music played by Glasson a night when my contact lenses were driving me nuts –I missed the richness I had found in his orchestral music: without the varying timbres it introduced, his themes seemed monotonous to me).

The only drawback to this album –and it’s not a serious one—is that some of the pieces don’t conclude, they simply stop, I suppose because all that was needed for the film had already been taped.

I haven’t by any means listened to all of Glass’s many albums but I’ve listened to many and I would rate Mishima one of his best to date, up there with the two violin concertos and his early ballet music.
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In life, stage blood is not enough ... you also need a good soundtrack. I have loved the movie for over 20 years, not least because of the music. This is the soundtrack I use when I'm working. My soundtrack used to be Shaft, but now it's Mishima.

The main theme is strangely reminiscent of the music to Candy Crush -- and I think part of the reason Candy Crush is so successful is that it makes a casual game sound like you are doing something epic.

Definitely some of Philip Glasses' most accessible music. I especially like "Stage Blood is Not Enough" -- beautiful classical music for the electric guitar.
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Haunting, inspiring music, and so appropriate for the film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters! I must have purchased three copies of this album over the years and have always found it amazing. I only wish it was available in a digital format for steaming.
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I have nothing to say, really. It's a good sounding soundtrack and Phillip Glass is at his best. I haven't seen the movie so I don't know if it fits or not. It sounds great on my Bose, period... I love it actually. It' s kind of classic Phillip Glass with a touch of contemporary elements. I have no idea when this came out; love to see the movie but it's not exactly a popular item. Perhaps it was considered an art film and went into obscurity
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