Saturday, December 22, 2012

SOUNDTRACK REVIEW: The Illusionist by Philip Glass

The Illusionist

My first Philip Glass purchase was The Hours.  His repetitive string loops, short motifs, mellow piano solos mesmerized me when in other cases I would have hated it for the lack of thematic development.  I watched The Illusionist mainly because of the music.  The opening credits of the film gave me a taste of the ensuing Glass opera. 

Opening somewhat fiercely compared to The Hours, Glass commands attention before descending into his usual, familiar string ostinatos maintaining an almost ethereal feel.  “The Illusionist” track is both mysterious and romantic.  It serves as a fair introduction to the mystery, romance drama the film is.  Unlike other Glass scores, there is a thematic development here even though it's small one.

The love theme is fully introduced in "The Locket". It's a soft piano motif that's sandwiched between string pieces which later ends in tragedy .The "magic" motif, as I call it, appears throughout the soundtrack. Its a rendition of the string ostinato that appears in the opening track "The Illusionist". This theme motif appears best in the track "The Orange Tree". Its arguably my favorite track along with "The Illusionist" and "Life in the Mountains".

The soundtrack closes our nicely with a beautiful, peaceful theme that only appears in "Life in the Mountains". In the film, this song carries over into the credits so the 2nd half of the song is a reprise of "The Illusionist" theme. This track is classic Philip glass albeit on a cheerful note instead of his occasionally depressing work.

I really like this Philip Glass score album. He shifts from simple repeated ostinatos to making a full score with themes though they're a little short at times. There's romance, intrigue, tension, suspense, action, and tenderness all in one album. The track variety and tone set it complete apart from The Hours. I strongly recommend The Illusionist soundtrack and film to anyone!

My Rating: 4 Stars

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