Music for Film: Ryuichi Sakamoto
Composed By: Ryuichi Sakamoto
Performed By: Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra
Distributed by: Silva Screen Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Japanese musician, record producer, activist, writer, actor, dancer and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto began his career as a session musician, producer and arranger while still a university student in the 1970s. By the 1980s, Sakamoto began working as a composer, completing his first feature film composition for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence in 1983. Since then, he has created a number of musical scores for films like The Last Emperor, The Little Bhudda, Snake Eyes, Femme Fatale, Gohatto and more. He has received an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, a Grammy, A Lifetime Achievement Award and more, recognizing his work both in film and as a musician.
In November 2016, Silva Screen Records released their third album in the Music for Film series, Music for Film: Ryuichi Sakamoto, celebrating musical score he created for twelve films. Each track is performed by the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Dirk Brousse. This CD is a result of Film Fest Gent’s World Soundtrack Awards. According to Silva Screen Records, “Each year an eminent film music composer is invited to present their work during the annual World Soundtrack Awards Ceremony & Concert closing event. As part of the celebrations, Film Fest Gent and partner Brussels Philharmonic record a CD of their music in advance of the concert. This year’s guest of honour is Ryuichi Sakamoto.”
Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto’s scores contain many Japanese influences and that comes through rather obviously in tracks like Endroll from The Last Emperor with its traditional Japanese strings, drums and horns. They are subtler in the Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Theme, but still recognizable. The Sheltering Sky Main Theme has a more classical air to it as does the High Heels Main Theme. There is something more grandiose about the Wild Palms Main Theme with its soaring horns and percussion amongst lilting strings.
With each of the tracks included in Music for Film: Ryuichi Sakamoto, we see how diverse a composer he really is. Each track is different, elaborately created and incredibly enjoyable. This album makes for a terrific gift for film music connoisseurs everywhere.