Xi you ji zhi: Sun Wukong san da Baigu Jing
Richly scored, colorful and exciting soundtrack for The Monkey King 2. Opulent sequel to 2014 blockbuster from China, this newest chapter takes place 500 years after the first one concludes. Sri Cheang returns to direct, Aaron Kwok, Gong Li, William Feng, Xiao Shen Yang, Kelly Chen star, Sammo Hung directs numerous action scenes, Christopher Young returns with even more resplendent, powerful music! Like chapter one, this new film finds root in the 16th-Century Chinese novel Journey To The West and comes replete with gods and goddesses, monks and demons, kings and dragons, virtually all manner of vibrant special effects to inspire a massive orchestral and choral score. Much of the first film took place in the heavens, Monkey King 2 mostly takes place on earth, with Young bringing weight and color to the emotional journey, as sought by director Cheang, who is much appreciative of grand Hollywood film music. Here is music now emotionally rich, now gently poignant, now riveting and exciting, ultimately grand and powerful! As with the first score, lengthy cues are a major asset, allowing depth and continuity to emerge throughout. And what sweeping melody there is! Themes play a major role while stirring harmony surges underneath. Several cues deserve spotlighting: opening "Jinguzhou, The Golden Hoop" plays over 11 minutes, develops several important ideas in depth, "Xiyi Yaoguai, The Basilisk Demon" offers violent orchestral/choral action with emphasis on edged brass, piercing woodwinds, "Baigujing, Lady White Bone" ushers in with striking, aggressive horn writing, bringing terror to demonic shape-shifter, then melts into haunting, beautifully flowing line for erhu as complexities and nuances of her character come into focus. Special mention goes to "Tang Sanzang, The Monk": here Young brings incredibly passioned, stirring orchestral crescendoes into focus with strong, thick harmony in tow. Yet another sensational highlight: the final "Sun Wukong, The Monkey King" presents a dynamic, rhythmically charged finale that climaxes in a stunning fortissimo coda, a rare closing device from the composer. Paired with the first score, The Monkey King 2 is arguably Christopher Young's most spectacular work! Informative notes by John Takis, lavish and colorful art direction by Joe Sikoryak. Allan Wilson conducts the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and Lucnica Chorus. A mammoth musical triumph. Intrada Special Collection CD available while supplies and interest remain!