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Heaven and Earth (Soundtrack) by Kitaro

Heaven and Ear
Review by Christopher Coleman

 

Heaven and Earth (Soundtrack) by Kitaro

Heaven and Earth
9/10

Heaven and Earth (Soundtrack) by Kitaro

 

Category

Score

Originality 9
Music Selection 8
Composition 9
CD Length 8
Track Order 8
Performance 10
Final Score 9/10

 

Real Audio Clips

 

Track 17 - End Title

 

 Purchasing Options

 

Kitaro
Composer 
Kitaro

 

Quick Quotes

"The score, by Japanese musician Kitaro, is nothing short of sensational... Book-ending the album are two utterly fantastic, epic cues - 'Heaven and Earth' and 'End Title' which, for me, rank as two of the most majestic tracks I have heard for a long, long time." *****

Jonathan Broxton - Movie Music U.K.

 

Composed by Kitaro
Arranged, Orchestrated and Conducted by Randy Miller
Released by Geffen Records 1993

Having been set on a search to find the enthralling music contained in the first theatrical trailer for Anna and the King, I finally came to find Kitaro’s Heaven and Earth as the source.  The score from Heaven and Earth provides much more than this one beautiful theme, but additional, truly authentic and engaging musical moments as well.

Kitaro’s score for this Oliver Stone film is an interesting mix of orchestra, synthesizers, vocals, and eastern instruments.  It is a mix that works.  The flavor is unmistakably from the Orient, as the film is set in Vietnam.  Instead of going with a “western” composer hired to write Eastern music, Stone selected rookie film composer, Kitaro.  Stone’s choice has proven to be wise, indeed.  Kitaro is certainly no rookie to musical composition as he has earned multiple award nominations and awards, including a Golden Globe for this score.  Kitaro is best known for his music, which most call New Age, but that he likes to simply call, "spiritual."

The score, as released by Geffen Records, begins with a wonderful piece that builds from a solo flute into a powerful, full orchestral theme.  This track not only wets the musical appetite, but also sets the tone for the quality of music that is to follow.  At the close of the first track, we get that unforgettable theme featured in the previously mentioned trailer; although, it appears only briefly.  This theme, unfortunately, only makes two other brief appearances on the disc: in track 4 and track 17.

The first and last tracks are easily the best of the disc, but between them are a number of noteworthy tracks. Sau Dau Tree (track 2), begins with solo female vocals and then moves into a purely synthesized theme. Track 3, Ahn and Le Ly Love Theme is interesting in that the moments are definitely eastern and provide little that us westerners would consider a typical “love theme;” however, about two minutes in the track begins to reveal a wonderful love theme that is heard in the opening and final tracks. It is played with a great deal of passion on the Chinese-violin, the huqin, by Yu Xiao Guang, a frequent performer on Kitaro's other albums.  In contrast to this pretty piece, Saigon Reunion (track 4), erupts through the speakers with an ominous militaristic-edge which weaves in and out of the love theme.  Finally, this track concludes with that trailer-worthy theme. 

The disc concludes with the wonderfully lengthy, End Titles.  At over ten minutes in duration, this track accurately depicts the range of emotion and corresponding styles that comprise this film’s score.  It begins with an interesting synthesized theme with solo female vocals.  Once again, that unforgettable theme, that set me on the trek to finding its source, shows up one last time; played first on the synths and then gets the full orchestral treatment, before moving into other various highlights of the film’s score.

One draw back to this release of Heaven and Earth is the lack of breaks between several tracks.  This sort of production always makes it difficult on the listener who may not want to hear the final notes of the previous track or the first few of the following track ncluded.   Despite this minor irritant, this disc is certainly worth obtaining.  Oliver Stone certainly chose wisely for his film. Kitaro may have not had any experience prior to this in scoring a feature film, but one certainly does not hear any signs of rookie film music here.  Hopefully, we will here more from this artist in the film score genre.  


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track Title Time

Rating

1 Heaven and Earth (Land Theme) 7:38  *****
2 Sau Dau Tree 3:41  ***
3 Ahn & Le Ly Love Theme 4:54  ***
4 Saigon Reunion 5:48  ****
5 Arvin 3:41  ***
6 Sau Nightmare 0:58  ***
7 V.C. Bonfire 0:47  ***
8 Trong Com 0:43  **
9 Ahn's House 6:27  ***
10 Destiny 1:13  ****
11 Last Phone Call 1:40  **
12 A Child Without a Father 2:04  ****
13 Village Attack/ The Arrest 1:21  ***
14 Walk to the Village 3:00  ****
15 Steve's Ghosts 1:31  **
16 Return to Vietnam 2:04  ****
17 End Title  10:27  *****
 

Total Running Time

56:22  
 
 

Referenced Reviews
Ann and the King 

 

 

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