Shanghai Noon (Soundtrack) by Randy Edelman



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Shanghai Noon (Soundtrack) by Randy Edelman

High Noon!
Review by Christopher Coleman

Composed, Conducted and Produced by Randy Edelman
Executive Producer: Robert Townson - Orchestrations by Ralph Ferraro
Performances by The Traditional Chinese Arts Ensemble and Rhythm
Released by Varese Sarabande Records- July 2000

Shanghai Noon (Soundtrack) by Randy Edelman

Shanghai Noon


Originality 9
Music Selection 7
Composition 7
CD Length 6
Track Order 7
Performance 8
Final Score 8/10

Mention the name Randy Edelman and instantly one of three scores come to mind:  Dragon:  The Bruce Lee Story, Dragonheart and Gettysburg.  Since the release of these three exceptional scores, Edelman has seemed to have only provided average scores that lack the depth and character of these three.  Edelman fans have been waiting for a return to his earlier magic.

The year 2000 seems to be that year.  While The Skulls gave indication that 2000 would be little different from previous few years, Edelman's two latest scores, Passion of Mind, and Shanghai Noon, make it clear that the composer hasn't misplaced the skills that garnered his mid-ninety scores so much attention.  

Shanghai Noon might be the most surprising of Edelman's three scores released by mid-2000.  With the hijinks of Jackie Chan at the center of attention for this film, one, like myself, might not expect much by way of any music that approached the great themes of the Edelman-past.   At the same time there was a subtle hope that maybe, just maybe, Edelman might work in some of that Far East musical magic from Dragon.  

Far East magic in a western?  Surely, this Shanghai Noon would be chop full of western flavors hopefully recalling memories of an Bernstein, Williams, or Goldsmith western.  Indeed, Edelman does work in such recollections, but also mixes in some hope-fulfilling ingredients from the orient- and does so quite successfully.  The first three tracks start the listener off, not in Dry Gulch, Austin or Cheyenne, but in China.  Forbidden City (1), Journey of the Imperial Guard (2), A Fragile Princess (3), introduce the main eastern themes that will be integrated into the western-dominated music that fills the rest of the score.

The Western elements are of a more contemporary sort.  This should be expected from Edelman.  The cues are lively and bright and filled with that classic sense of good versus evil in some old, dusty town of the West.  Track 4, From East to West serves as the transitional track which takes us from, as you might guess, from China to the United States.  It is here that Edelman introduces his main western theme and it is crafted in classic Rodeo-style that, as many other western themes have, pays proper homage to composer Aaron Copland.  One of the standout western tracks is The Anywhere Saloon (9) where Edelman combines some interesting vocals with his trademark synthesized sound.  Yet another is Home on the Rangoon (26) where the Chinese violin is chosen to play the lead in a rather humorous arrangement of  Home on the Range, as it is accompanied by steel guitar and harmonica!

Randy Edelman returns to his beautiful theme mastery in tracks such as Mountains and Streams (6), Breakout at the Mission (11), and Protecting a Princess (17).  Each of these tracks reminds the listener of the wonderful talents this composer possesses, but doesn't get to demonstrate often enough.

No. Shanghai Noon isn't sort of score that is heavily hyped or anticipated, but is one of those that sneaks in under most film music fans' noses, if the movie is not seen.   Such circumstances sometimes provide a welcome surprise in the midst of so many over-hyped scores that tend to disappoint more often than not.  Shanghai Noon is a very entertaining listen filled with Randy Edelman's flare for beautiful, Eastern influenced music along with bold and brash old west themes.  Somehow successfully tying these two styles together are the familiar synthesized elements that have become Edelman's signature sounds.

Track Listing and Ratings

 Track  Title  Time


1 Forbidden City 1:39  ****
2 Journey of the Imperial Guard 1:23  ****
3 A Fragile Princess 3:08  ****
4 From East to West 1:08  ****
5 A New and Grand Country 1:55  ****
6 Mountains and Streams 2:08  *****
7 Becoming a Cowboy in Carson City 4:00  ***
8 Leaving a Friend 1:44  ***
9 The Anywhere Saloon 2:21  ***
10 Say Hello to the Tribe  2:01  ***
11 Breakout at the Mission 2:52  ****
12 Getting Extremely Personal 1:53  ***
13 Bonding in Jail 2:03  **
14 Shanghai Noon 1:11  ****
15 A Classic Gunfight 3:48  ***
16 Dinner for Three at SueSingOui 4:00  ***
17 Protecting a Princess 4:00  ****
18 Escaping Death 2:00  ***
19 Roy's Epiphany 0:46  ***
20 The Cows Help the Jailbirds 2:26  ***
21 Martial Arts 1:54  ***
22 No Secret 1:00  ***
23 The Hanging 1:52  ***
24 Buried Alive? 1:28  ***
25 Rumble on the Train 1:31  ***
26 Home on the Rangoon 2:04  ***
27 Finale 0:59  ****
28 A Fading Wish  2:31  ****

Total Running Time

57:17  ***

Referenced Reviews:  
Dragon:  The Bruce Lee Story | Passion of MindThe Skulls


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Randy Edelman


Shanghai Noon (Soundtrack) by Randy Edelman





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