Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi is best known for his Takeshi Kitano and Hazao Miyazaki scores -- and yet the two directors couldn't be more different. Kitano's films are mostly adult crime dramas, while Miyazaki's are mostly animated family features. But both are wildly adventurous and deeply (sometimes even secretly) romantic. Hisaishi has done excellent work for each, most notably Kitano's masterful Hana-Bi and Miyazaki's epic Princess Mononoke. If his soundtracks for Kitano tend to have a more elegant, elegiac tone (Kitano's taciturn protagonists often die at the end), his soundtracks for Miyazaki tend to be more sweeping and majestic (no matter what comes their way, Miyazaki's plucky young heroes and heroines always triumph at the end). Spirited Away fits the latter description to a T. As is the custom with a Miyazaki film, a vocal track plays during the closing credits. In this case, Youmi Kimura sings the lilting "Always With Me" in Japanese (the CD booklet includes an English translation). The rest of the score features instrumental pieces performed by the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom Hisaishi has worked for several years.
AllMusic Review by Kathleen C. Fennessy
|Spirited Away (Sen To Chihiro Kamikakushi), film score|