Rachel Portman

The Joy Luck Club [Original Soundtrack]

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Given the source novel's emphasis on the clash between traditional Asian values and modern American sensibilities, it's no shock that Rachel Portman's score for The Joy Luck Club employs both Western and Eastern instrumentation, but what is surprising is how effectively Portman navigates the complexities of so many contrasting sounds and approaches. The Joy Luck Club is by far the most ambitious score Portman has recorded to date, employing an orchestra far larger than any of her previous efforts -- its epic, sweeping strings evoke classic Hollywood but its tasteful appropriation of Chinese squeaking violin and bamboo flute conjure a time and place far more exotic and mysterious.

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