Philip Glass: The Illusionist

March 11, 2010

I loved Glass’ work in Koyaanisqatsi. Music is foreground; hand in glove with the imagery. Some of his other film scores seemed, to me, heavy handed: imposing themselves on the scenes rather than providing underscore.

Philip Glass’ score for THE ILLUSIONIST is his best yet. The harmonies are fresh; the melodies are new; the textures are new; he tailors his cues beautifully to the scenes, rather then the torn-off abrupt ending the minimalists have tended to favor; there are a wide range of dynamics (he used to favor terraced dynamics, mostly loud).

The cinematography is continually breathtaking; stellar performances by Edward Norton, Rufus Sewell and Paul Giamatti, and Glass’ score rounds it out. The music doesn’t really sound “minimalist”– if anything, it sounds “classical”––”serious”––continually effective.

Glass’ reward for providing such tasty underscore, is that he gets to let loose in the end credits, a cue called “Life in the mountains.” Here is that cue: lovely, don’t you think? A long way from Music in 5ths.

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