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Philip Glass: Dracula

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Album Review

Do not expect scary music for a scary film. Philip Glass' 1999 soundtrack for the 1931 film Dracula is a well-executed piece of work, notably for many of its stylistic choices. There is nothing particularly scary or frightening about the music — the horror and thrill of the project is left to the imagery and drama of the film itself. The music in absolutely beautiful, augmented by the raw, woody sounds of the Kronos Quartet. No refined or reverbed string sounds here; you hear the naked, scratchy sound of a bow on a string all the way through, playing in the interwoven arpeggiated style that is unmistakably Glass. Complex chord structures and dense rhythms permeate the record, making it musically satisfying for both the pedestrian and the sophisticate ear. This will certainly stand out as one of the premiere works in Glass' soundtrack portfolio. ~ Mark W. B. Allender, Rovi

Customer Reviews

horrible tragedy

Dracula is about anxiety, an unspeakable fear of the outside world, and suspicion of outsiders. The novel isn't subtle, but this music is. The story's themes couple so completely with the music, that the music itself triggers the horrible images of the movie. Done in quartet, the music swirls, rises, and falls with the two violins giving most of the melody to the cello. The result is the timbre of the violin creates a mist of anxiety while the cello's sombre boom throws the desparing theme at the listener. The cello is relentless and unremitting, like Dracula himself, and an air of inevitability pulls the music deepr and deeper into the listener's soul as the story moves from Transylvannia to London. But the resolution is at once hopeful and doubtfull, as in the story. The dissonance slowly gives way, like clouds breaking, to a dolefull sweetness. Dracula leaves the story, and the music, resentful, barely defeated, and entirely evil. The music is a masterpiece in both capturing the story's anxiety and artistry.

Fabulous for new Philip Glass listeners

I highly recommend this particular album for those who aren't as familiar with the work of Philip Glass as well as the endless talent and eclectic music of the Kronos Quartet musicians. Glass composed this music as a backdrop for the original 1931 silent film "Dracula" starring Bela Lugosi. I was fortunate enough to see a production of this in Chicago. The silent film was shown on the movie screen while Philip Glass and his musicians were behind the screen. Throughout the movie the transparency of the screen was changed such that at certain points you could see the musicians as another layer onto the movie itself. This is a wonderfully done soundtrack that adds new life to a silent film and showcases the musical crafting and stylistics of Philip Glass. If you're ready to move on to more of his music, I recommend "Koyaanisqatsi" which is a soundtrack to a triology of films called Qatsi, this first one dealing with urban life vs. the environment.

Listen To Them...What Music They Make!

I'm a long time fan of the old school horror films, and when I first heard the score accompanying the film on the enhanced DVD, it all clicked into place like a coffin lid. This might be Phillip Glass' most listenable work ( I dig most of his music, but not everyone does), and it's perfectly creepy- subtle and at the same time foreboding. I love it!


Formed: 1973 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Since their founding in 1973, Kronos Quartet have become the foremost ambassador of contemporary chamber music, determined and successful at breaking down barriers between musical genres and between musicians and audiences. David Harrington, the ensemble's founder and first violinist, was inspired to form the group after hearing George Crumb's Black Angels. By the end of the 1970s, Kronos settled into a tight collaboration between Harrington, violinist John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt, and cellist...
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