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Kundun
(1997)
Album Cover Art
Composed and Orchestrated by:
Philip Glass

Produced by:
Kurt Munkacsi

Conducted by:
Michael Riesman
Labels Icon
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Nonesuch Records
(November 25th, 1997)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Regular U.S. release.
Awards
AWARDS
Nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.
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ALSO SEE




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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... only if you are familiar and comfortable with Philip Glass' tendency to endlessly explore the subtlies of a situation with introspective and subdued rhythms, marginal harmony, and only slight development of motifs.

Avoid it... if you expect anything other than a deeply respectful and minimalistic musical tribute to a troubling period in Buddhist culture.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #273
WRITTEN 12/19/97, REVISED 3/2/08
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Glass
Glass
Kundun: (Philip Glass) What Kundun proves beyond any reasonable doubt is that there's a fine line between an artistic, intellectual biographical film and a boring waste of two hours. Director Martin Scorsese used a script significantly influenced by the Dalai Lama himself and told the life story of the Buddhist leader from the time of his "discovery" at the age of two (in 1937). The guidance of this, the 14th Dalai Lama, would respond to China's decision to invade and take control of Tibet, forcing him with the prospect of fleeing his nation for his own safety. Scorsese was not known in the mainstream for this kind of film, and for the mass majority of audiences, Kundun and its cast of unknown Tibetans failed to muster the passion necessary to expand the reach of the topic's appeal beyond those who already held a great reverence for the history of the region. The score by Philip Glass addressed the story with the same serious intensity with which Scorsese approached the rest of the production. Glass was still relatively unknown until the Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations (and a win from the Los Angeles Film Critics for "best score") for Kundun gave him enough fame in Hollywood to launch a successful arthouse film scoring career outside of his already established classical writing. Scorsese was particularly interested in working with Glass on Kundun because of the composer's Buddhist faith and extensive Tibetan knowledge. It's not surprising, therefore, that the resulting score for Kundun is very intelligent in its adaptation of vocal and instrumental sounds from the region. The highly cyclical and minimalist nature of Glass' foundation for these elements was somewhat intoxicating in the context of the film at the time, though subsequent scores by Glass through the years have clearly identified the somewhat monotonous cyclical rhythms as a trademark of the composer's writing that, in retrospect, steals some of the uniqueness from the score for Kundun. The staggered progressions of instrumental solos over a bed of string alternations have become all too common in Glass' subsequent efforts for film, causing Kundun to now rely upon its colorful ensemble to distinguish itself from other Glass scores to follow.

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VIEWER RATINGS
1,243 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 2.66 Stars
***** 327 5 Stars
**** 73 4 Stars
*** 126 3 Stars
** 296 2 Stars
* 421 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
3 TOTAL COMMENTS
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stupendo   Expand >>
Gaia - March 19, 2008, at 12:05 p.m.
2 comments  (1568 views)
Newest: February 12, 2014, at 2:16 a.m.by Mr. Big
Kundun
wing-chong - December 17, 2007, at 4:21 a.m.
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 60:22
• 1. Sand Mandala (4:04)
• 2. Northern Tibet (3:21)
• 3. Dark Kitchen (1:32)
• 4. Choosing (2:13)
• 5. Caravan Moves Out (2:55)
• 6. Reting's Eyes (2:18)
• 7. Potala (1:29)
• 8. Lord Chamberlain (2:43)
• 9. Norbu Plays (2:12)
• 10. Norbulingka (2:17)
• 11. Chinese Invade (7:05)
• 12. Fish (2:10)
• 13. Distraught (2:59)
• 14. Thirteenth Dalai Lama (3:23)
• 15. Move to Dungkar (5:04)
• 16. Projector (2:04)
• 17. Lhasa at Night (1:58)
• 18. Escape to India (10:05)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The album is contained within a cardboard slip-cover that features a note from the director about the score. Notable performances listed on the insert include: Michael Riesman (conductor, piano, celeste, synthesizer), Richard Sher (cello), Susan Jolles (harp), Andrew Sterman (piccolo), Carol Wincenc (flute); Henry Schuman (oboe), Steven Hartman (clarinet, bass clarinet), Lauren Goldstein-Stubbs (bassoon, contrabassoon), Sharon Moe (French horn), Wilmer Wise (trumpet), Alan Raph (bass trombone), Dhondup Namgyal Khorko (Tibetan horns, cymbals), Gordon Gottlieb (percussion), Gyuto Monks - Monks of the Drukpa Order. Recorded at The Looking Glass Studios in New York.
Copyright © 1997-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
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 Kundun are Copyright © 1997, Nonesuch Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/19/97 and last updated 3/2/08.
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