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Princess MononokePrincess Mononoke Symphonic Suite

Track List:
  1. The Legend of Ashitaka 1:39
  2. The Demon God 3:48
  3. The Journey to the West 2:33
  4. The Demon Power 00:34
  5. The Land of the Impure 3:00
  6. The Encounter 00:50
  7. Kodamas 2:27
  8. The Forest of the Gods 00:39
  9. Evening at the Ironworks 00:39
  10. The Demon God II - The Lost Mountains 00:57
  11. Lady Eboshi 2:48
  12. The Tatara Women Work Song 1:27
  13. The Furies 1:28
  14. The Young Man From the East 1:25
  15. Requiem 2:22
  16. Will to Live 0:30
  17. San and Ashitaka in the Forest of the Deer God 1:39
  18. Princess Mononoke Theme Song 2:08
  19. Requiem II 2:12
  20. The Battle Drums 2:45
  21. The Battle In Front of the Ironworks 1:26
  22. The Demon Power II 2:30
  23. Requiem III 00:54
  24. The Retreat 1:30
  25. The Demon God III 1:13
  26. Adagio of the Life and Death 2:08
  27. The World of the Dead 1:28
  28. The World of the Dead II 1:33
  29. Adagio of Life and Death II 1:05
  30. Ashitaka and San 3:10
  31. Princess Mononoke Theme Song 1:20
  32. The Legend of Ashitaka Theme 5:03

Total Time: (59:30)

Symphonic Suite:
  1. The Legend of Ashitaka
  3. The Journey to the West
  4. Mononoke Hime
  5. The Forest of the Dear God
  6. Reqiem - The Demon Power
  7. The World of the Dead - Adagio of Life and Death
  8. Ashitaka and San

Total Time: (47:28)

Original Soundtrack:
Composed by:
Joe Hisaishi

Arranged by:
Joe Hisaishi

Conducted by:
Hiroshi Kumagai

Performed by:
The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

Symphonic Suite:
Composed by:
Joe Hisaishi

Arranged by:
Joe Hisaishi

Conducted by:
Mario Klemens

Performed by:
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

If there is another composer in the entire world that can come this close to matching the style of James Horner, I'd sure like to meet 'em. Joe Hisaishi is to James Horner what Michael Giacciano is to John Williams. In fact, I'd say that if this follows the overall feeling of any other soundtrack, it would be Horner's "Braveheart," only with (obviously) eastern influences, as opposed to celtic ones.

This soundtrack is one of the most "complete" that I've heard. From the time it starts, to the time it's over, you will have the feeling that you've listened to countless hours even though the whole thing clocks in at a grand total of just one hour (compliment). I believe that this lies in the fact that there are so many themes. This is just busting at the seems with different themes! The main theme is probably one of the best that I've heard, the "demon god" theme makes several appearances, and the "Journeying" theme (which sounds a little too close to Horner's love theme from "Braveheart" for comfort) is heard quite often, and that's not counting the huge abundance of sub-themes. One thing that Hisaishi seems good at is using a main theme in moderation and not playing it to death.

My favorite track is probably the end credits, which developes the excellent main theme for five minutes. Other good tracks are "Ashitaka and San" (I love the piano) and "Kodamas." There are quite a few very dark tracks like the requiems, but the overall soundtrack has a very heartwarming feel.

I hate to say it, but there is one track that I simply don't like at all, the "Tatara Women Work Song." It's just a bland women's chorus with synth backing. Also, the simplistic arrangements are nice, but the song at the end is just TOO simiplisic and just sounds dull, plus I think that the lyrics have probably lost quite a bit in the translation, because they sound pretty corny. While my gripes may sound harsh, they are really the only complaints that I have about this captivating score.

Overall, this is a fine example of modern composition, and I would recommend it to all fans of film, anime, or videogame music.

Additional review for Symphonic Suite CD:

For those of you who were fan of the original Princess Mononoke soundtrack, have I got something to recommend to you. The symphonic version of the now-famous anime score by Joe Hisaishi is available in the U.S. Many speculated as to whether or not this CD would make it stateside. Lucklily, the people at Milan decided that it would probably be a good idea, so now fans of the original score can rejoice.

The new arrangements of the original themes are actually nothing special in and of themselves since the orchestrations haven't really been altered too much (to keep the flavor of the original score, I'd wager), so we can perceive this as something familiar, yet also new and fresh at the same time. I personally loved the Mononoke score and was quite excited when I heard the news that this was being released here.

Most people have been most entranced by the main Ashitaka theme, but my personal favorite is the "journeying" theme featured in track 3. There is even a new piece of incredible string material at the center of the track that probably makes up one of my favorite parts of the CD. Many parts of the music unfortunately don't really feel "right" to my ears, and I'm not exactly sure why it was included here. I suppose what I'm referring to the most is the action music and the "demon power" music. Not that it's bad, I just don't personally care much for it.

So, basically, if you *are* a fan of the Mononoke score, I recommend this wholeheartedly, if not, I actually recommend this instead of the OST just because it works better on CD. It *is* arranged to work that way.

Princess Mononoke is copyright 1997/1999 Milan. Produced by Joe Hisaishi. Executive producers: Emmanuel Chamboredon and Russell Ziecker. Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite is copyright 1998/2001 Milan. CD produced by Joe Hisaishi. Executive producer: Toshio Suzuki. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.