Hero (soundtrack) by Kyle Eastwood & Michael Stevens

 

 

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Hero by Tan Dun

Music from the Films of Zhang Yimou


Hero  - D1 One sheet Poster
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Hero on DVD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hero (Soundtrack) by Tan Dun

Hero
Composed by Tan Dun
Sony Classical Records (2004)

Rating: 8/10

Buy Hero by Tan Dun  from Amazon.com

 

Listen to this soundclip of HeroHero: Overture (403kb)

Listen to this soundclip of HeroGone with Leaves (268 kb)

Listen to this soundclip of HeroAt the Emperor's Palace (345 kb)


More clips from Hero at Amazon.com

 

“While Tan Dun's score for the film is somewhat reminiscent of CROUCHING TIGER, it moves beyond with a more eclectic instrumentation and arrangement.”

How Swift is Thy Score
Review by Christopher Coleman


Jet Li in HeroDiving into the realm of the historical/drama/wuxia genre, director Zhang Yimou, surprised audiences around the world with his film, HERO (Ying Xiong). Zhang Yimou's name became recognizable in the early 1990s due his successful dramatic efforts which starred Gong Li such as RED SORGHUM, JU DOU, AND RAISE THE RED LANTERN. While exhibited in his previous works, it would be through the 2002 project, HERO, that his ability in using color photography as more than eye-candy, but as another vehicle to help tell his story would garner the attention of worldwide moviegoers.

In making his move into this new genre, Yimou selected composer TAN DUN who had burst onto the film music scene with this Oscar winning work for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. Ang Lee's wire-flying tale was not Dun's first film score, however. He had been producing scores since the mid 1990s which include films such as IN THE NAME OF THE EMPEROR and FALLEN. Tan Dun's work spans much further than film music as he has written a number of award winning symphonies and operas. But back within film-music genre, following up his acclaimed effort for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON could have proven to be a difficult task.

Tan Dun's score for HERO finds its backbone in a single theme which is applied over the entire story and just about every main character. This theme is introduced in track 1 "Hero: Overture." Tan Dun, a violinist himself, chose world-renown virtuoso, Itzhak Perlman, to play the violin solos - this theme in particular. In much the same way, that Yo Yo Ma's performance marked CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, Perlman's performance is emotionally sensitive and is long remembered after the film has concluded. This title theme can be found it one form or another in just about every track.

A couple of secondary themes work their way through the score, yet never usurp the main theme's throne. The love-theme for characters of Flying Snow, Broken Sword, and Moon, maintains the characteristic of yearning or even more fittingly "longing" as it is featured in the track by that very title (5). The theme played most consistently on violin and/or strings. Additionally, we have the Emperor's theme found in "At the Emperor's Palace" (6). Here and throughout the score the conflict surrounding the emperor is denoted by the use of a male choir and brass bursts approximating the sound of the ancient laba (or Tibetan tonquin).

Tan Dun's juxtapositioning of the light, soothing vocals of You Yan over the forceful performance of KODO and their taiko drums in tracks such as "Gone With Leaves" (4) is just one example of the interest that he infuses in this score. Another is found in one of the most highly anticipated scenes of the film. Two of China's most famous and beloved film stars, Donnie Yen as Long Sky and Jet Li as Nameless, would finally be facing off for the first time since their memorable confrontation in ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 2 (1992). In the film this artistic and metaphoric battle takes place in a go/chess courtyard and is fought to the mesmerizing, solo performance of a blind-man and his zither with male vocal accents. In this scene the zither player gets up to leave but at Nameless' request sits down show his mastery of the instrument one last time...just as Nameless and Long Sky are about to do with their "instruments." Just prior to their epic fight, Nameless says these words,

"Martial arts and music are different, but they share the same principle. Both stress the attaining of a supreme state."

This fight is represented in track 7, "In the Chess Court;" however, the offspring of the ancient chinese zither, the guqin, is accompanied by violin (from which we hear the title theme) and also the drumming of Kodo. The track is perhaps more palettable because the arrangement, but somehow lacks the sublimeness found in the music from the film's sequence.

ZHANG YIMOU's HERO was a surprising triumph of 2002. His stunning visual style would carry over into his next projects of the same genre, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS and CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, but neither would surpass their predecessor. While Tan Dun's score for the film is somewhat reminiscent of CROUCHING TIGER, it moves beyond with a more eclectic instrumentation and arrangement. For those who have a propensity for enjoying film scores with a eastern flavor, then HERO will likely prove an enjoyable listen.


Rating: 8/10

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Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Hero:  Overture 4:22  ****
2 For the World -- Theme Music 3:18  ****
3 Warriors 3:44  ****
4 Gone with Leaves 3:28  ****
5 Longing 4:20  ****
6 At the Emperor's Palace 3:58  ****
7 In the Chess Court 4:02  ***
8 Love in Distance 4:54  ****
9 Spirit Fight 4:32  ***
10 Swift Sword 3:36  ***
11 Farewell, Hero 3:00  ****
12 Sorrow in Desert 2:33  ***
13 Home 1:16  ****
14 Above Water 1:45  ****
15 Snow 4:22  ***
16 Yearning for the Peace 3:29  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 54 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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