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VINE VOICEon 23 January 2005
There wasa time when the soundtrack to a movie was the most unheard music on the planet. But thanks to the recognition of this art form at Oscar time and even in the music charts it has taken on a life of its own. When I saw this film recently I was transported not only by the imagery in front of me but the feast of music my ears were enjoying. The love theme was on my lips for a long time after I left the cinema. As there will be a hiatus between the cinema performance and its release on DVD I am so glad that the soundtrack became so immediately available and thanks to the miracle of Amazon I had the music in my life very quickly. This is a great piece of music that evokes the cinematic piece as well as standing alone as an enjoyable entertainmnet
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on 19 May 2006
Uembayashi, being of Japanese origin himself is reason enough to believe this soundtrack is going to be a clearly passionate presentation of colour and life. For a Japanese musician to familiarise himself with Chinese instruments, he would have to have much drive and devotion. House of flying daggers was a beautiful love story. The soundtrack reflects this perfectly with a much more atmospheric and elegant flow of instruments than Tan Dun's "Hero" and "Crouching tiger hidden dragon" soundtracks. Although maybe unfair to compare to these, i beleive that for you to get a good picture of Uembayashi's work you could for instance imagine a much more melodic and string based flow of rythmical extacy. Mixing calm and relazing drum beat with slow flowing strings was a perfect way for the composer to blend he action witht the passion of Tai Chi martial arts. Many a time during this beautiful display you will hear very relaxing and thin textured instruments such as the chinese flute to add to the forest atmosphere and general relxaed tone to follow through with the playful metaphors of Kaneshiro's character. Like most musically brilliant peices, there is a defined melody running throughout the theme and the whole album itself. Although unlike a John Williams 4 note variation, this melody was a carefully crafted and beatuiful flowing river of music, almost grasping you and making you sing with the tune.

All in all this is a perfect aural repesentation of THE HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS. A fine example of beauty both in music and film.
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2005
After watching the film (twice!!) at the cinema I decided I had to buy this. It is a beautiful mix of chinese music, depicting all the best bits of the film from battle scenes with drums to the tender pipes of the lovers tune. It includes the song sang by Mei at the Peony Pavillion and the closing song by Kathleen Battle has some haunting lyrics. If you loved the film and like the chinese culture of it, then this soundtrack is a must.
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2006
I watched this film on DVD cause I missed it at the cinema when it first came out and was completely taken with the soundtrack. In fact I became immersed in the music of this amazing film.

The 'Beauty Song' sung with such feeling by Zhang Ziyi, is a wonderful heartfelt song. I don't particularly have a favourite track on this amazing album cause they're all so good in their own right. Two of my favourites are the 'Farewell' themes numbers 1 and 2. Also there's 'The Echo Game' and 'Until The End' and also 'Battle In The Forest'.

The composer, Shigero Umebayashi, is a talented individual and this album shows him confident in the art of understatement with these delightful compositions. Though most of them carry elements of the other tracks, this album is a tour de force and also there are emotional elements in each track punctuated by stirring violin or percussion.

One of my favourite soundtracks that I own. People interested in film music should get a copy. You won't be disappointed.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 December 2008
I found Shigeru Umebayashi's soundtrack to Zhang Yimou's 2004 film haunting, and resolved to buy the soundtrack. I was not disappointed. I had not consciously come across this Japanese composer's music before. It's mix of traditional Chinese instruments with orchestra and electronic programming is impressive; sometimes a track will contain all three elements, sometimes just one. For example, the recurring "Lovers" theme is played first using traditional instruments and a string orchestra on one track; later it is played on a solo pipa; and then on full string orchestra for over four minutes (the disc's longest track).

What first drew me to this soundtrack when watching the film was an incessant distant boom over a string theme. This soft pounding first appears in "The Peonyhouse", like a short pulse of distant thunder, each lasting barely a second, but by the time we arrive at the track called "No Way Out", the pounding has grown stronger and more regular, supporting sustained chords. Then, in "Farewell No.1" we have the full treatment, the pulses appearing only intermittently at first, but then doubling, heightening their importance like a heartbeat. It is very effective. There is an impressive multi-layered percussion of a different kind on "The Echo Game".

There is an interesting selection of vocals. In the track "Bamboo Forest", we hear the voice of Tomoko Kanda intoning haunting wordless sustained notes like the wind wailing through the bamboo; in "Beauty Song" it's the film star's Zhang Ziyi who intones the words of her character in the bordello; finally we have Kathleen Battle singing "Lovers" at the very end of the disk, a moving five-star performance.

What is also interesting about the music to this film is that many of the tracks are ingeniously based on only one or two main themes. It is a shame that so many of the tracks are so short, as they are ripe for extensive development. Only five tracks exceed three minutes. Some end just as they start to get interesting.

But overall I am glad I purchased this CD. It contains some wonderfully moving and haunting music.
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VINE VOICEon 4 October 2007
House of Flying Daggers is a great film with a good mixture of action and tender moments and this soundtrack is no exception. All twenty pieces included on this CD are beautiful and although I do prefer the soundtracks for both `Hero' and `Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', this score is still up there as one of the best I have heard. If this score has a flaw it is that many of the pieces are slightly brief but this is more than made up for by the beauty of the tracks. My personal favourite pieces on this album are the Lovers tracks especially the title song performed by Kathleen Battle. This soundtrack is essential for those that love the film and would not go unappreciated by those who like traditional Chinese music.
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on 21 January 2008
I had high expectations for this soundtrack I love the movie and I really wanted to like the music. It contains some good music but overall it is too patchy. It's as if the composer ran out of ideas midway through the project. The last two tracks are okay but totally out of place on a Chinese movie soundtrack. The 'Couching tiger, hidden dragon' soundtrack while not great contains much stronger material. Viewed as a movie soundstrack with some Chinese inspiration, it's okay. However, as a showcase of good Chinese music, it falls far short of the mark.
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on 8 March 2016
Absolutely stunning!
The film was absolutely amazing & this soundtrack is so atmospheric!
It really takes you back to the mystical, beautifully tragic sphere of the film!

A must-buy!
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on 30 October 2013
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on 11 September 2015
Love it, beautifully recorded. Reminds me of the movie each time I played this CD.
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