Red Cliff Destiny Lies in the Wind/Iwashiro

November 21, 2009


John Woo, director of Red Cliff, is likely known in America for the films Face/Off, and Mission Impossible II but in addition he is quite an active director in Asia as well as having several films in the development stage to be released over the next couple of years. The film is actually part 2 of the 1992 classic Hard Boiled both starring Tony Leung and reuniting Woo and Leung for the first time since that film. The film was wildly popular in Asia and is advertised as the most expensive film ever made in the orient at least at the time of this writing. The story takes place in 208 A.D. involving the Han dynasty and their fight for power. The ensuing battle marks their end of rule in this loosely based historical drama.

Not having seen either film but considering the plot and my surmising that there was a lot of non-stop action, I was quite surprised at the restrained symphonic quality of the score and the minimal use of electronic programming from Taro Iwashiro, who I’ve had no prior experience with but certainly wish to explore further. The soundtrack was the winner of Best Original Film Score at the 2009 Hong Kong Film Awards. It also features a vocal of the main themes by Chinese J-Pop star alan.

“The Battle of Red Cliff,” is a pretty theme that would hardly be a description of a battle involving the Han dynasty but more like a theme from a melodrama with emphasis upon the fortunes of war through the percussion. It is a theme that is used throughout the score. “Light Of The Evanescence” is a soft tranquil theme in an andante tempo that depicts a quiet time in the forest by a brook or the aftermath of the battle. It too is repeated in the score and is really quite a moving piece. “Decision for Justice” is a proud heroic theme that indicates the resolve to solve the conflict at hand. While this is a military piece you don’t get the feeling of similar situation written for an American film. “Precious One” is a love theme version of “Light Of The Evanescence” with delicate flute and oboe in the forefront. “Red Cliff-River Of No Return” sung by alan is very oriented to the pop market and I’m sure the $ signs were in the eyes of the producer and director as this was being recorded. It is a pleasant theme and I’m sure many of you will enjoy it but it really doesn’t fit a film that takes place in 200 A.D. The score, performed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, has an overall Asian flavor with the use of a Bamboo Flute and Chinese Harp but still has its own unique identity and style. I never got the feeling of a 110-piece orchestra with extra brass to emphasize the military aspect of the film. This is definitely one to explore if your taste lends itself toward the classical side of film soundtrack listening. Recommended.

CD# is SILCD1296

Produced by Taro Iwashiro

Track listing

1. The Battle Of Red Cliff (03:05)


2. On The Battlefield (08:43)


3. Light Of The Evanescence (02:32)


4. Shadow Of The Evanescence (02:26)


5. Shooooot! (01:43)


6. Decision For Justice (03:58)


7. Secret Stratagem (01:51)


8. Closing In Upon The Enemy (04:13)


9. Unseen Locus (03:01)


10. Precious One (05:22)


11. Sound Of Heartstrings (01:35)


12. In Loneliness (05:35)


13. Beyond The River (04:19)


14. Red Cliff (End Roll Version) / Theme Song Of Part I (07:12)

Performed by Alan

15. Outroduction Of Legend (05:16)


16. Red Cliff (End Roll Version) / Theme Song Of Part II (03:32)

Performed by Alan

Total Duration: 01:04:23

One Response to “Red Cliff Destiny Lies in the Wind/Iwashiro”

  1. m.mackenzie Says:

    Sounds like it’s more complex than American military style music and I’d like to hear “Light of the Evanescence” at the very least. Thanks for the review.

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