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Philip Glass

Mishima

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Philip Glass' soundtrack to Paul Schrader's retelling of the life of Japanese author Yukio Mishima is one of his strongest early scores, one that retains his essential "Glass-ness," but begins to bring in elements of narrative, creating distinct sounds for each of the sections of Schrader's non-linear storytelling structure. So for Mishima's final day -- when he tried to stage a military coup and ended up committing suicide -- Glass creates tense, suspenseful music with dashes of military drumming. For the sections retelling Mishima's short story ~Kyoko's House, he recasts his main theme into a composition for '50s-style surf-rock ensemble -- bizarre stuff, indeed. This is stirring, potent music that never once condescends to throw in some sort of Japanese instrument. As a side note, the ever-adept Kronos Quartet handle much of the string sections of this album. ~ Ted Mills, Rovi

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