KUNDUN is as rich in music as it is in dramatic imagery, and in fact, significant portions of the film were edited by Scorsese expressly to match the score. The film's soundtrack - excerpted from a lavish 100 minutes of material, including Tibetan singers and musicians - is by Philip Glass who, in addition to being one of the world's best-known composers and a Buddhist himself, is celebrated for his numerous collaborations with noteworthy filmmakers.
For the second of 1997's dueling Buddhist epics (the other being Seven Days in Tibet
, scored by John Williams), director Martin Scorsese made a wise--if commercially challenging--choice in tapping noted minimalist composer Philip Glass to score Kundun
. Glass (who's previously scored the avant garde documentary Koyaanisqatsi
, and the strange Candyman
horror series), is the perfect choice here; his own Buddhist beliefs play a key role in meshing image and music. Glass's familiar compositional techniques are wedded on Kundun
to a sensitive use of ethnic instruments and the voices of the Gyuto Monks, adding an aura of spiritual power missing from most Hollywood fare. --Jerry McCulley