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I watched Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams for the first time a few months ago. I have seen several of his other works, but honestly Dreams really haunts me the most. I heartily recommend it, but I know that it is not for everybody. Considering the anxiety about the nuclear age expressed in this film, and the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, I thought it fitting to post this fantastic score by composer Shinichirô Ikebe.
Ikebe was born in Mito, Japan in 1943. He graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with a master’s degree in 1971. He is probably best known for his work in classical music, but he has also worked in TV, film and radio. He is the recipient of a very long list of prestigious awards.
This release is mostly the score for Dreams, but tacks on about five bonus tracks from two other Kurosawa films. There is diverse range of moods explored here, expressed through classical, vocal, and traditional Japanese music. There are also some frightening and hypnotic sound effects on the Mount Fuji in Red tracks. Overall, I think the whole album is really good, but my favorite track is The Feast. It starts with some divine Japanese fue, and then brings in some interesting percussion, followed by some kind of plucked instrument. To me it imparts a peaceful fascination with the natural world, but I think it is used in the film in the sequence where a boy, paying no heed to his mother’s warning, is spying on a parade of foxes. My other favorite track is Funeral Procession, which doesn’t sound like any funeral music I’ve ever heard. It is composed of several sections characterized by percussion, wind instruments, possibly some brass, and chanting. I have no idea what the chanters are saying, but it doesn’t matter, because it is awesome.
I want to extend my deepest condolences to all the people who are dealing with the disaster wrought by the earthquake and tsunami.
Year of Release: 2002 Label: Toho Music Catalog #: AK-0014 Genre: Soundtrack, Classical, Japanese Traditional Media: CD Format: MP3 Bitrate: 224 kbps
Track List: 1. Titles (1:50) 2. Sunshower (3:52) 3. Rainbow (1:11) 4. The Feast (4:20) 5. The Fields (1:00) 6. A Spirit In The Fields (1:36) 7. The Snow Woman (2:56) 8. From Behind The Clouds (2:11) 9. Requiem Trumpet (1:17) 10. Raindrops (M11, by Chopin) (2:09) 11. Raindrops (M12, by Chopin) (0:56) 12. Raindrops (M13, by Chopin) (2:13) 13. Mount Fuji In Red (M15 Temp Mix T-1) (1:59) 14. Mount Fuji In Red (M16 Working Sound Temp Mix T-1) (1:23) 15. Radiation (0:55) 16. The Town In The Castle Ruins (0:40) 17. The Crying Demon (1:21) 18. Funeral Procession (5:39) 19. Ending (Caucasian Sketches Op. 10 by Ippolitov - Ivanov) (5:59) 20. Her Grieving Heart (From "Stabat Mater" by Vivaldi) (1:45) 21. The Wild Rose (M6 From The Film) (0:41) 22. The Wild Rose (M7) (1:55) 23. A Weeping Mother Was Standing (From "Stabat Mater") (3:02) 24. Vivaldi Concerto From "Harmonic Inspiration" (Concerto No. 9, D Major, 2nd Movement) (4:23)