Musical Score By: Nicolas Errèra
Distributed by: MovieScore Media
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
The movie, Shaolin, takes place during the early years of China, when feuding warlords, battling to expand their power-base, threw China into chaos. During this time, the Shaolin Temple opened its doors to the wounded. Hao Jie (Andy Lau), a young military leader, finds refuge at the Shaolin Temple after his sworn brother Huo Lung betrays him, wiping out his entire family. It is at the Shaolin Temple that Hao Jie finds inner peace, learning martial arts from the crazy monk known as Wu Dao (Jackie Chan). When Hu Lung brings his army to bare on the Shaolin Temple, the peaceful monks are forced to take up arms to protect their beloved temple and the refugees that call the temple their home.
The musical score of Shaolin was created by French composer Nicolas Errèra whose career as a composer and musician began shortly after completing his studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur of Paris and at l’École Normale de Musique in Paris. Co-founder of two electronic pop bands and host of the Radio Nova radio show known as The Pudding, Nicolas Errèra has also composed music for commercials, the John Malkovich play Good Canary and over forty scores for both French and international films including The Butterfly, Cravate Club, The Over-Eater, Nocturna, Me Two, Sticky Fingers, Connected and XIII the series.
According to Errèra, director Benny Chan wanted the score of Shoalin “to take the point of view of an European composer mixed with Chinese sonorities.” To that end, Nicolas Errèra combined the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra with several instruments known to the region, such as the Chinese erhu performed by virtuoso Guo Gan. The result is an epic musical score infused with the beautiful ethnic sounds of China.
I’m a huge fan of the sounds of the Orient and love it when composers use such the two stringed fiddle known as the erhu, the dizi bamboo flute, the dagu drum and more. It gives the music an exotic feel and successfully deposits the listener into the storyline’s setting, surrounding them with the sounds of the Orient. The music is infused with orchestral music that at times is quite sad and at others set with grim determination. These compositions would fit the film perfectly in scenes where Hao Jie witnesses his family’s betrayal and in scenes when he is undergoing martial arts training.
The soundtrack of Shaolin is everything I expected it to be and more. There is an intrinsic beauty in the music of the Orient blended with the sounds of traditional orchestral music. Even the tracks meant to pump the adrenaline of the listener have an essential beauty that makes the Shaolin Soundtrack quite a remarkable bit of composition and an album music aficionados should not miss.