Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Perfect Soundtrack For A Perfect Film: The Red Violin Soundtrack Lives Up!

The Good: Evocative music, Passionate, Expertly played, A treat for the ears!
The Bad: Nothing I can find!
The Basics: A true classic! Wonderful orchestral music that speaks to all who have an intellect and an imagination.

There are few films that create amazing soundtracks where the music is at least as good as the film and the sound of the music is a work that may stand alone without the film. The soundtracks to Batman Returns and The Last Of The Mohicans are two; so is The Red Violin.

Even if you have not seen The Red Violin (my review is available here!), the soundtrack is an amazing experience. The music tells a story, it boils with emotions. The soundtrack is primarily strings, most notably the violin. Opening with a simple humming, the album goes from melodic to menacing, the tempo increases, it's like the music is demanding that your adrenal glands activate! This is a full orchestra sound. The tracks are varied from the turbulent (to calm) "Death of Anna" to the almost dancable "The Gypsies: Journey Across Europe."

The violin ties the track together much like a human voice does on an individual artist's album. Listening to the soundtrack is like listening to any other operatic experience, there's a story being told. The story here, though is not that of The Red Violin; it's the story you make. In the tradition of the finest classical music, this soundtrack (as with listening to an opera in a foreign language you do not speak) demands that you make the images, you take the music they provide and it flows within you to make whatever story you feel it evokes.

The threads in this particular soundtrack are passion and loss. There is a vocal track, "People's Revolution: Death of Chou Yuan." It has children singing in Chinese. The thing is, I've seen the film. I have images deeply rooted with the film in my mind when I listen to this because I loved the film. When I dissociate from the film, I think the soundtrack is telling the story of a person, their finding a love, the adventures they have and where "People's Revolution . . ." falls, is where the pair becomes a family.

That's my story. And it doesn't matter.

What matters is that if you have an imagination, if you love truly great music, if you recognize that there are modern composers out there creating great music you don't always get to hear on the radio, this is the album for you. If you like classical, you'll love this album. If you like pop music, and have a brain and imagination, you'll love this album. This album has so many layers to it, so many of the tracks that sound fluidic yet are challenging, like a river with fast-moving water on top and slower currents below, the tracks progress, but there's an undertow.

In short, The Red Violin the soundtrack is a perfect album. Even without the perfect film. (That Entertainment Weekly somehow missed this soundtrack in their list of Top 100 soundtracks of all time is irrelevant!)

For other orchestral or soundtrack reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Chopin - Greatest Hits
What's Love Got To Do With It? Soundtrack
Beethoven - String Quartets, Op. 18 No. 4 & 5


For other music reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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