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Original Title:
Juhong geulshi

South Korea 2004

Lee Jae-jin / Various

The Scarlet Letter - OST

Review: The soundtrack to "The Scarlet Letter" delivers in musical respect exactly what the movie presented us with in terms of picture composition: excellence and style. Numerous classical pieces are mixed with some original compositions and two somewhat more pop-like pieces, which, nonetheless, fit in perfect into the tracklist thanks to their wonderfully melancholic character. The CD starts with Lee Eun-joo and an interpretation of the "The Corrs"-song "Only When I Sleep". It is said that Lee was very nervous before the recording, but apparently without any reason. She has a beautiful voice, which fits very well to the sad mood of the song, so that we gladly forgive her some english pronunciation difficulties she had. Even the saxophone that pushes itself to the foreground on several occasions dovetails well with the rest of the piece, although I can't stand this instrument, normally.

After that there is Lysdal, a Danish singer/composer, who made a great contribution to the movie with his song "A Matter of Time". This piece is a little bit Blues-like, in a very pleasant way, however. The style and most of all the appealing voice of Lysdal strongly remind us of Sting and if you wouldn't know better you most likely would assume that the song actually is from him. Besides the acoustic guitar which sets the pace, there is also an e-guitar pushing forward over and over again, accompanying the voice of the singer with some nice solos. A small insider's tip!
Now, let's get to the classical music part. Verdi's "Pace, Pace, Mio Dio" starts off with easygoing opera singing, which slowly starts to build some dramatic momentum, yet remains tranquil until the powerful finale. Normally, I'm not that much into operas, but here the singing isn't that obtrusive and moreover is accompanied by a nice melody in the background played by strings and wind instruments.

The fourth title of the CD is my personal favourite, Shostakovich's "Cello Concerto No.1 In Eb Op.107 (Allegretto)". The cello plays a dark, dashing melody supported by fast strings and wind instruments, among them some that make the tone of the piece even more somber, whereas a very complex musical structure is created, that you only learn to appreciate to the fullest after several times of listening. The pacing is constantly changing, but generally quite fast, towards the end the cello and trumpets change roles, latter playing the main motive, now, while the somber cello takes over the accompaniment. A fantastic piece!
Let's stick to the keywords "dark" and "cello" with Brahms'. In "Sonata No.1 For Cello And Piano In E Minor Op.38" the cello plays a tragic, flowing motive, which in itself is quite slow, yet the pacing picks up in the middle of the piece for a short amount of time, making it a bit more friendly in tone, especially because of the piano, which accompanies the cello all of the time. Also a great track.

"Cantate Domino" as you may have already derived from the title is a religious piece, and I'm still looking for the composer of this tune. It starts with a church organ, which plays a slightly depressing, yet fast-paced melody that gets more cheerful when brass instruments fill the place of that instrument, which at the same time serve as a intersection for the choral music to kick in. The tranquil melody of the choir is then interrupted by the nice motive of the church organ, until the choir gets into the foreground again, this time accompanied by the church organ. Towards the end the piece becomes also more powerful and ceremonious when the brass instruments join in. This nice piece then ends with a well-done resolving of the motive. Schubert's following "Moments Musicaux Op.94" is a bit too fast-paced and playful for my taste, nonetheless, a fine piano track. At the end of the CD there is also Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" which everyone should know as it is always played at ceremonious festivals and events. Exactly because of that, the ceremonious character I mean, I don't really like it. The same goes for the quiet "String Quartet Op.76 No.3 Variation" by Haydn, which is also known as the national anthem of Germany. I never thought much of it, anyway...

Tracks 8 - 15 are composed by Lee Jae-jin, who does a good job. "A Phote Studio" is a dreamy, somber piano piece, "Truth" on the other hand more spirited and playful without losing sight of the tragic main mood of the song. "Temptation" is even more slow and melancholic, yet becomes more dramatic at the end. Apart from this one and "End Title" the songs by Lee are all pretty short, though. In latter piano and strings mix tragic, drama and melancholy in a bittersweet composition, which should had stood as the actual final track of the CD instead of serving us with Mozart and Haydn.
There are some wonderful classical pieces on the "The Scarlet Letter" soundtrack CD, but the two sung tracks are also outstanding. The music selection for the OST is without a doubt very good, and even if there are a few tracks one easily could have done without, this flaw is made up for by some fantastic compositions. Very recommendable, if you don't call the classical pieces your own, already.

Copyright 2009 AsianMovieWeb

Track listing

01. Lee Eun-joo - Only
      When I Sleep
02. Lysdal - A Matter
      Of Time
03. Giuseppe Verdi -
      Pace, Pace, Mio Dio
      (La Forza Del Destino)
04. Dmitri Shostakovich -
      Cello Concerto No.1
      In Eb Op.107
05. Johannes Brahms -
      Sonata No.1 For
      Cello And Piano In
      E Minor Op.38
06. Cantate Domino
07. Franz Schubert -
      Moments Musicaux
      Op.94 (Allegro
08. 진술 - Waltz
      (A Statement Waltz)
09. 사진간
      A Photo Studio
10. 진실 - Truth
11. 유혹 - Temptation
12. 미행 - Shadowing
13. 위기 I - A Crisis I
14. 위기 II - A Crisis II
15. 주홍글씨 - End Title
      (The Scarlet
      Letter End Title)
16. Mozart - Eine Kleine
      Nachtmusik 3re Mov.
17. Joseph Haydn -
      String Quartet Op.76
      No.3 Variation (Poco
      Adagio Cantabile)

Running Time = 50:49

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