Album: The English Patient: Original Soundtrack

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Album:

The English Patient: Original Soundtrack

Artist: Gabriel Yared
Genres:
Label: Fantasy

Anthony Minghella’s Oscar-winning realization of Michael Ondaatje’s intricate romance deservedly earned comparisons to David Lean’s sweeping screen epics derived from strong literary sources. Like Lean, Minghella sought an equally thoughtful, yet ravishing musical counterpart that fleshes out a sympathetic orchestral score with allusions to the story’s cultural milieu. The equation begins with Gabriel Yared’s tender, brooding symphonic score, which mingles the film’s poles of fate and passion with subtlety and restraint, then adds the exotic, mesmerizing voice of…

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Anthony Minghella’s Oscar-winning realization of Michael Ondaatje’s intricate romance deservedly earned comparisons to David Lean’s sweeping screen epics derived from strong literary sources. Like Lean, Minghella sought an equally thoughtful, yet ravishing musical counterpart that fleshes out a sympathetic orchestral score with allusions to the story’s cultural milieu. The equation begins with Gabriel Yared’s tender, brooding symphonic score, which mingles the film’s poles of fate and passion with subtlety and restraint, then adds the exotic, mesmerizing voice of Marta Sebestyen (best known for her work with Muzsikas, the brilliant Hungarian folk revivalists, who also appear here), whose presence provides a literate clue to the title character’s true identity. The film’s ‘40s time-frame gains resonance and dramatic irony by pop songs from that era, including Benny Goodman swing classics and two versions of Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek” (by Fred Astaire and Ella Fitzgerald, respectively). Add a pivotal Bach cue and this is a film package that works even if you don’t know the film—and that much more powerfully if you do. —Sam Sutherland

Related Works

Book:The English Patient

The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje

During the final moments of World War II, in a deserted Italian villa, four people come together: a young nurse, her will broken, all her energy focused on her last, dying patient, a man in whom she has seen something “she wanted to learn, to grow into and hide in”… the patient: an unknown Englishman, survivor of a plane crash, his mind awash with a life’s worth of secrets and passions … a thief whose “skills” have made him one of the war’s heroes, and one of its casualties … an Indian soldier in the British army, an expert at bomb disposal whose three years at war have taught him that “the only thing safe is himself.” Slowly, they begin to reveal themselves to each other, the stories of their pasts and of the present unfolding in scene after haunting scene, taking us into the Sahara, the English countryside, down the streets of London during the Blitz, into the makeshift army hospitals of Italy, and through the battered gardens and rooms of the villa. And with these stories, Ondaatje weaves a complex tapestry of image and emotion, recollection and observation: the paths and details of four diverse lives caught and changed and now inextricably connected by the brutal, improbable circumstances of war.

Film:The English Patient

The English Patient

Anthony Minghella

Winner of nine Academy Awards and almost every critic’s heart, The English Patient (based on Michael Ondaatje’s prizewinning novel of love and loss during World War II) is one of the most acclaimed films of modern times. Hana, a nurse (Juliette Binoche), tends to an archaeologist (Ralph Fiennes) who has been burnt to a crisp in a plane crash. As their relationship intensifies, he flashes back to his overwhelming passion for a married woman (Kristin Scott Thomas). Meanwhile, Hana begins a new romance with a man who defuses bombs (Naveen Andrews) and Willem…

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