Memoirs of a Geisha- Original Picture Soundtrack by John Williams & Yo-Yo Ma 2005 CD-New $42.99


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Memoirs of a Geisha

Director Rob Marshall hired three of Asia’s most fabulous stars (Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, and Gong Li) for this Japan-set movie, so one wonders why he didn’t put in a call to a local composer as well. Was Tan Dun’s line busy? Was Joe Hisaishi otherwise engaged? In any case, John Williams won the assignment, and he didn’t end up with egg on his face. Mercifully, Williams left the bombast at home and put cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman to good use in this sensitive score. The lovely “Sayuri’s Theme” resurfaces at regular intervals, and it’s good to hear Williams keep his showier instincts in check through a good chunk of the movie, as he delivers a more subdued sound. One of the most dramatic moments happens during “The Fire Scene and the Coming of War.” By then Williams has basically reverted to the familiar, brooding mode he uses for ominous scenes, when suddenly the track integrates an excerpt from “The Folding Fan as a Target,” a traditional piece for voice and the Japanese lute known as biwa. Though Williams is right to err on the side of low key, it would have been nice to get more of these stark sounds in his competent but ultimately unmemorable compositions. –Elisabeth Vincentelli. 

Track Listing 

  1. Sayuri’s Theme 1:31
  2. The Journey to the Hanamachi 4:06
  3. Going to School 2:42
  4. Brush on Silk 2:31
  5. Chiyo’s Prayer 3:36
  6. Becoming a Geisha 4:52
  7. Finding Satsu 3:44
  8. The Chairman’s Waltz 2:39
  9. The Rooftops of the Hanamachi 3:49
  10. The Garden Meeting 2:44
  11. Dr. Crab’s Prize 2:18
  12. Destiny’s Path 3:20
  13. A New Name… A New Life 3:33
  14. The Fire Scene and the Coming of War 6:48
  15. As the Water… 2:01
  16. Confluence 3:42
  17. A Dream Discarded 2:00
  18. Sayuri’s Theme and End Credits 5:06

Additional information

Weight 5 oz
Dimensions 7 × 7 × 1 in