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House of Flying Daggers
(2004)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
Shigeru Umebayashi

Co-Orchestrated by:
Sachiko Miyano

Performed by:
Arigat Orchestra Tokyo
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LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Sony Classical
(January 14th, 2005)
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ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Regular U.S. release.
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AWARDS
None.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you find the blending of traditional Eastern instruments with Western symphonic sensibilities to be intoxicating in every dramatic variation.

Avoid it... if you demand depth to your passion, for Shigeru Umebayashi's score is impressive in its technical precision but may often be too sparse to fully address the tragic spirit of the concept for many Western ears.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,791
WRITTEN 6/25/10
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Umebayashi
Umebayashi
House of Flying Daggers: (Shigeru Umebayashi) Even if you have no interest in the genre of martial arts romanticism of historic China, the stylish films of the early 2000's that launched the topic to international acclaim are worth beholding simply for their visual splendor. The success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon yielded a variety of similar explorations of this tragic genre, and hot on the heals of Hero in 2004 was Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers. These films thankfully are simply stunning to view in their cinematography and application of colors, because if you seek them for satisfying love stories, you're in for a nasty surprise. The tale of House of Flying Daggers is about as predictably depressing as they come, a love triangle destined for a bloody end after two young police captains infiltrate a rebel group (of the film's title) that is resisting the declining powers of the Tang Dynasty in the year 859. A series of betrayals and revelations involving the characters is anchored by the captains' shared affections for a supposedly blind woman thought to be a member of the group. As their commanding general pursues them later in the film, they must fight together before the final confrontation over the woman. There is no "happily ever after" in House of Flying Daggers, but with a visual presentation as intoxicating as any the genre has produced, the film remains highly recommended. It fared well with critics and fans at film festivals and was given a wide release by Sony, producing outstanding global returns. Composer Tan Dun had been the voice of this genre of films throughout the previous five years, but for House of Flying Daggers the assignment went to Japan's Shigeru Umebayashi, who was already a veteran of over 50 film scores after his notable participation with a Japanese new-wave rock band ended with its disbandment. Like Dun, Umebayashi's recognition outside of Asia has been largely limited to this specific genre of historical drama, with neither man able to use these memorable scores to step into American cinema, a topic of much disgruntlement for fans of this music. Their approaches are basically similar in the application of Eastern instrumentation and stylistic mannerisms to Western symphonic norms and synthetic accents of film scoring, though Umebayashi exercises far more restraint in his employment of the Western elements. In terms of accessibility for average collectors of Hollywood film music, Dun's music is typically more attractive, despite the equally effective techniques used by Umebayashi for House of Flying Daggers.



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VIEWER RATINGS
135 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3 Stars
***** 26 5 Stars
**** 28 4 Stars
*** 29 3 Stars
** 25 2 Stars
* 27 1 Stars
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Review Respond
Yves Val Schott - December 27, 2010, at 8:55 p.m.
1 comment  (670 views)
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 49:37
• 1. Opening Title (0:58)
• 2. Beauty Song (Jia Ren Qu) - performed by Zhang Ziyi (2:32)
• 3. The Echo Game (1:17)
• 4. The Peonyhouse (1:22)
• 5. Battle in the Forest (3:26)
• 6. Taking Her Hand (1:14)
• 7. Leo's Eyes (1:51)
• 8. Lovers (Flower Garden) (2:19)
• 9. No Way Out (3:59)
• 10. Lovers (1:54)
• 11. Farewell No. 1 (2:42)
• 12. Bamboo Forest (2:36)
• 13. Ambush in Ten Directions (Shi Mian Mai Fu) (2:01)
• 14. Leo's Theme (2:36)
• 15. Mei and Leo (3:06)
• 16. The House of Flying Daggers (1:27)
• 17. Lovers (Mei and Jin) (4:21)
• 18. Farewell No. 2 (2:49)
• 19. Until the End (2:55)
• 20. Lovers (Title Song) - performed by Kathleen Battle (4:12)

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NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from House of Flying Daggers are Copyright © 2005, Sony Classical and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/25/10 (and not updated significantly since).
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