Movie Soundtrack

Memoirs of a Geisha

Composed By:  John Williams

Produced By: Sony BMG Masterworks

Reviewed by Melissa Minners



             In a small fishing village in Japan, a young child is taken from her family and forced to work as a maid in a Geisha house.  Here, she meets and falls in love with a man, unattainable to someone of her stature.  She decides that the only way to become close to him is to become one of the geisha’s he is so fond of.  In Memoirs of a Geisha, a film based on the internationally acclaimed best-selling novel by Arthur Golden, Sayuri reflects back upon her rise from the ranks of a penniless servant to that of a legendary geisha.  Directed by Rob Marshall and produced by Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and Steven Speilberg, Memoirs of a Geisha is a romantic epic starring Ziyi Zhang as Sayuri, Michelle Yeoh as Mameha, and Ken Watanabe as Chairman. 

            The musical score of Memoirs of a Geisha is composed and conducted by five-time Oscar winner John Williams.  Known for his dramatic flare when it comes to musical composition, John Williams was the perfect choice to compose the soundtrack for Memoirs of a Geisha.  His dramatic compositions found in soundtracks for such movies as the Star Wars series, Superman, E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Jaws, and more are celebrated worldwide.  For this soundtrack, Williams has collaborated with the musical talents of cellist Yo Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman

            The musical compositions found on the soundtrack of Memoirs of a Geisha are nothing short of breathtaking.  Williams’ compositions are filled with an heir of beauty and grace mingled with mystery and intrigue, thus giving the listener the perfect musical portrait of a geisha.  The use of shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flutes) and kotos (Japanese stringed instruments in the zither family), traditional instruments in Japanese music bring the influence of Eastern culture home to the listener.  Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Masakazu Yoshizawa (shakuhachi), Masayo Ishigure (koto) and Hiromi Hashibe (koto) shine in the solos created for them by John Williams

            The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of Memoirs of a Geisha is a masterpiece in its own right, capable of standing alone, apart from the movie that it was created for.  It would make a perfect addition to any music lover’s collection.


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