Composer, Hidden Score
A testimony to the power of a filmís context on oneís appreciation of the filmís score, is not better demonstrated than by Ang Leeís surprising hit film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The soundtrack was available well in advance of the actual film, especially in forgotten markets like Orlando, Florida, which hasnít seen the release of the film until February 2001, and so my opinion of this Tan Dun score was formed long before viewing the film. On its own, Dunís score may not be as memorable as many other Far East-flavored scores, but in the film echoes the tempo and setting quite well. My original Quick-Click review rated this score as a 7/10, but after viewing the film, this score takes on much more life as the images and emotions of the film instantly return to ones mind and heart with nearly each note.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon first started making waves back at the Cannes Film Festival of 2000, where it was shown as a non-competing film yet garnered more praise than most any other film shown. Slowly the film was released throughout the world causing quite a stir as it did.
film is based on an old five-part book series
read by director Ang Lee years ago.
Lee opted to start with the FOURTH story in
the series and has mentioned that a prequel is very
episode revolves around three (some might say, four)
characters, brilliantly cast, and their complex
relationships to one another.
The success of Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon
should be no surprise as it harkens back to the most
classic themes: good versus evil, the heroes
(heroines) journey, love, and revenge.
What is surprising is for the strength of the
womenís roles originally coming from such an old
story from such a male-dominated time and culture.
With a compelling story, perfect cast, and
jaw-dropping settings, the last, most evident
ingredient, would be the filmís score and for that
award winning composer, Tan Dun was brought on.
Dun is most noted for for his award winning operas and symphonic compositions. He
was selected to compose an international mosaic of music to celebrate and
bring in the year 2000: 2000 Today: A World Symphony for the Millennium.
His opera, Marco Polo garnered him the prestigious Grawemeyer award.
Tan Dun is also not a complete rookie to
the genre of film music having tucked the
jazz-flavored score for Fallen into
his repetoire already.
Tan Dun is also not a complete rookie to the genre of film music having tucked the jazz-flavored score for Fallen into his repetoire already.
The score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon echoes the epic and tragic nature of the film. With cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma, an underlying sadness flows throughout most of the score. The main theme is established at the onset of the film and, appropriately, with Sony Classicalís soundtrack as well. Lead by Ma, this theme is the most memorable portion of the score and is used extensively throughout. It is also employed in the pop track, A Love Before Time, performed by CoCo Lee (track 14, 15). The album features both English and Mandarin versions of the sole vocal track and they conclude the CD.
Tiger, Hidden Dragon,
while quite the spectacle, truly draws its strength
from the not-so-obvious elements of the film, among
them is Tan Dunís score.
While the score may come off as
stand-alone music, one can substantially increase
their appreciation of the music by experiencing it
with the accompanying images, thoughts, and
emotions. I can nearly guarantee, that one is much more likely to
listen to this score repeatedly after having the
film at least once or twice.
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