Liner Note Author: Tan Dun.
Photographers: Nana Watanabe; Tomasz Wiech; Doug Hao.
Director Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Zhang Yimou's Hero (2002), and Xiaogang Feng's The Banquet (2006) do not actually constitute a trilogy in the formal sense, since the films are not related to each other. But they do all feature martial arts, and, more important, they all have scores by Chinese composer Tan Dun. On this album, excerpts from all three are presented (out of chronological order), with one major soloist assigned to each score. For Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it's cellist Yo-Yo Ma; for The Banquet, pianist Lang Lang; and for Hero, violinist Itzhak Perlman. Throughout, Dun demonstrates an ability to mix traditional Chinese sounds with Western orchestral styles, an appropriate approach to films with mixed origins. He can even stretch to the point of coming up with a pop theme for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, "A Love Before Time," sung by CoCo Lee. The scores may be better heard in the original soundtrack recordings and in their entirety, but the soloists here are stellar, and the album gives a good sense of Dun's relatively small body of film music. ~ William Ruhlmann