The album 1996 contains 12 pieces arranged for violin (Everton Nelson, David Nadien, or Barry Finclair), cello (Jaques Morelenbaum), and piano (Ryuichi Sakamoto), including both new compositions and music used in the soundtracks to The Last Emperor, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Sheltering Sky, and High Heels. The music is for the most part restrained and reflective, as Sakamoto makes use of the contrasting timbres of the chamber instrumentation, mixing melodic and rhythmic effects soothingly (the exceptions being the more quick-moving "M.A.Y. in the Backyard" and "1919," which uses a barely audible voice and staccato playing to stirring effect).
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann