Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Philip Glass' music: Pensive or profoundly pointless?

After re-watching The Hours some time ago I decided to give the soundtrack a listen. Given that Glass is known for his movie soundtracks I was a little cautious in not assuming it to be like Morton Feldman but more like James Horner. The verdict? Yes, the music is very suitable for cinematographic sequences requiring swift but soothing music. However, I was left in a quiet but yearning mood upon finishing with the cd. His music is more than just your regular OST. 

Highlights: The famous track The Escape that captures the melancholy of The Hours (since the film mainly deals with suicide in a variety of forms) by commenting on the turbulence of depression (longer sequences with piano/violin followed by short ecstatic bursts of piano solos) and imparting a blow of epiphany onto the listener: Life is not to be enjoyed, it is to be worried about. Even the choice of title "Escape" embodies the feeling that is recurrent throughout the film: Life is troublesome and some people choose to escape from it. Depressing stuff, I know.

The track Morning Passages is more about concern than about chagrin. I do not think Glass wanted his listeners to get depressed about the state of affairs in life, but rather to not look at everything through rose-tinted glasses.
Other highlights: The Poet Acts and Something She Has To Do. 

Overall: Reminded me of some bits of Yann Tiersen's Goodbye Lenin soundtrack (highlights include I Saw Daddy Today) and Jon Brion's Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind soundtrack. Definitely more pensive than pointless. 

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