The Patriot Yue Fei
Composed By: Nathan Wang
Distributed by: Plaza Mayor Company Ltd.
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the Chinese television series The Patriot Yue Fei, Huang Xiaoming is Yue Fei, a Song Dynasty general regarded as a patriot and national hero for his part during the Jurchen campains against the Song Dynasty. Based on historical sources, the series also incorporates fictional tales as well as folklore about the general. It is the first Chinese historical television series to be aired on HBO.
The musical score of The Patriot Yue Fei was created by American composer Nathan Wang, whose love for music began at the age of three when he began studying classical piano, encouraged by his mother. He was introduced to jazz by his father. Wang studied musical composition at the age of nine and graduated from the University of Southern California at thirteen. Taking general studies at Pomona College, Wang received a Fulbright scholarship to continue music graduate studies at Oxford University. A talented pianist, Nathan Wang played piano at a five-star restaurant where he was recognized by producer of the television series China Beach. Thus began a lucrative scoring career which includes musical scoring for China Beach, Eek! the Cat, Christmas with Holly, Myth, Rumble in the Bronx, The Final Season and Chinese Zodiac.
The musical score of The Patriot Yue Fei features a mix of dramatic action elements and classical score. Battles and moments when Yue Fei is depicted as a warrior are expressed with military drumming, horns, clashing cymbals and fast-paced orchestral sound. Romantic moments and glimpses into Yue Fei's private life are expressed with softer, classical tones. I especially found the violin solos on such tracks to be quite beautiful. The violin and piano themes throughout the album mimic traditional Chinese scoring, representing not only the locale, but the faithfulness and sincerity of the main character. When played in the forefront while military drum beats and cymbals crash in the background, you get the full portrait of the heroic general, the patriot and the man considered a hero in Chinese culture.
I love the music of the East, particularly musical scores of movies set in China and Japan that seek to represent the culture and music of a particular historic period. The traditional elements in woodwinds, strings and piano, performed along with traditional instruments of the region always seem to soothe my soul. Though there are moments in which we are reminded that Yue Fei was a general well versed in the art of war, a majority of The Patriot Yue Fei Soundtrack cover the personal side of Yue Fei, his loyalty and strength of character.
With the score created for The Patriot Yue Fei, Nathan Wang has created a score that perfectly represents the man himself and his military career. The score also makes for a perfect stand alone album with dramatic action sequences and contrastingly beautiful, softer classical moments. I found The Patriot Yue Fei Soundtrack to be incredibly enjoyable and one that I am extremely happy to add to my soundtrack collection.