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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on January 10, 2002
Stirring to the point where it has left me in tears, Mishima is one the most impassioned works I have ever heard. Even after numerous listens, I remain awe-struck by its magnificence.
I was completely enamored the first time I heard "Runaway Horses". Every time I listen to that particular track, I feel compelled to turn up the volume - allowing myself to be swept away...or at times, absolutely possessed....
From solemn to enchanting to intense, most tracks are striking samples of this masterwork. Philip Glass employs cellos, violins, percussion, guitars, organs, harps, chimes and other sounds/instruments which all work perfectly to Mishima's advantage. Glass's approach is thematic. His use of the central melody, transcripted and reworked many times resounds to make Mishima a highly accomplished score.
Highlights: Osamu's Theme, Runaway Horses, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Drawbacks: intermittent synth sounds detract from what could have been a glorious orchestral performance, 2 tracks strike me more as being extras rather than being integral elements to the score
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on June 22, 2001
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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on August 18, 2000
If you check the classical catalog, you're likely to find Miskima and Philip Glass's other albums listed, but not the work of musicians such as Brian Eno. Although both are composers, experimenters, and members of the avant garde; Glass is considered a classicist where Eno is a popularist. Why? I'm not a musicologist, but Miskima is a highly structured composition, and like classical music, operates within a bounded (albeit broad) set of rules. The rules are not "classical" in nature, but Glass's own invention (almost). The term "minimalist" applies, but is often misconstrued as "simplistic." The song 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' is simple, not minimalist. Miskima is far from a simple work; in fact, it is quite complex.
The most important element of Miskima is its rhythmic structure. Instead of giving melody and harmony priority over rhythm (as in most traditional Western music), Glass emphasizes rhythm - similar to that of Peter Gabriel. Glass superimposes two different rhythmic patterns of different lengths. He repeats each pattern several times and they eventually both arrive at their starting points at the same time, making one complete cycle. He may have several of these "cycles" going at the same time. The effect has been described as "wheels within wheels." Sounds absurd, but try Miskima, and you'll say "Hey, it sounds like wheels within wheels."
The second unique element of Miskima is the "additive" process. Here, Glass takes a bar of say five notes, and repeats it several times. Then he adds a sixth and seventh and so on, each time repeating the bar with the next note is added. Sounds boring and technical? Hardly. The note is added anywhere, and the rhythm expands and contracts in many different ways. The origin of this technique is Indian music. The combination of cyclic rhythms and the additive process is hypnotic, dynamic and troublesome. Each of the tracks sound as though they will never end. The music fills the sound stage (room, automobile, or in the case of headphones, one's head), builds on itself, then collapses inward leaving silence and emptiness. Miskima is mesmerizing and frustrating: the tracks have definite beginnings, but the endings are often unsettling.
If you enjoy classical music, the African rhythms of of Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno's experimentation, the Indian raga, or would just like to "take a break" from conventions; Miskima may be your cup of tea.
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on February 17, 2003
I was first introduced to the soundtrack from Mishima in 1986 by a young woman from LA. That may have been a part of why it stayed close to me... but I was entranced by Phillip Glass' music.... and this was the first I had ever heard from him! I sought out other Glass works, but none enthralled me as Mishima had done. I kept a crude cassette copy of this soundtrack for many years... until it wore out, frankly! 15 years later I remembered the haunting movie music, and bought the CD. Now, more than ever, I wanted to see this film! It did not do well at the box office and was supposedly under-rated, but Glass' music was definitely it's saving grace. I was completely captivated with the film as I watched... but I constantly found myself following the music, and not paying attention to the screen. It brought the sad and weird story of Mishima to life... yet it stands completely on it's own. The Kronos quartet performs marvelously. The music never leaves you!.... never!
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on February 25, 2003
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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on February 2, 2003
Yep, it's Philip Glass all right. The same sparseness, the same sense of quiet foreboding, the same two-chord minor key arpeggio out of which the man has built an entire career. What's different about this album is the instrumentation. Glass has abandoned synth-and-woodwind arrangements for a string quartet (with a little electric guitar thrown in for good measure). The resulting feel is warmer, less avant-garde and more like traditional classical music. To my ear, this shift in tone brings out a richness in the music that makes this his best work, but even if you prefer your Glass icy, the Mishima soundtrack is a side trip worth checking out.
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on December 1, 1998
Phillip Glass has become one of the most influential composers of the twentieth century with his unique style of music. This soundtrack stands alone and for good reason: it catches your attention and never ceases to amaze you. You will be pleasantly surprised by the composer's ability to make the instruments come together in a way that is entirely different from what you would expect.
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on January 12, 2000
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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on December 30, 2003
There are some soundtracks that seem to steal the show, and this is definitely one of them. It brilliantly captures the inner turmoil and dreams of a man, with sound that rings in your mind long after the movie is over. Reminiscent of Cello Suites by Bach with touch of modern synthesizers, it has very complex depth that is simply captivating. Definitely one of my all time favorites.
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on November 3, 1999
Anyone who thinks that so-called "minimalist" music cannot be emotional should give "Mishima" a try. The opening track starts quietly, but quickly builds to a thrilling "wall of sound." (Turn up the volume!) There are many other moments of more contemplative beauty in this CD. It's a "must" for anyone interested in innovative music.
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