'Shutter Island' soundtrack packed with contemporary classical music
And I'm talking seriously contemporary, as in fabulously atmospheric pieces by John Cage (including "Music for Marcel Duchamp"), Morton Feldman (the otherworldly "Rothko Chapel 2"), Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Gyorgy Ligeti, Lou Harrison (a movement from the haunting Suite for Symphonic Strings), John Adams (the eerie, riveting "Christian Zeal and Activity"), and Giacinto Scelsi. For good measure, a youthful work by Gustav Mahler, his darkly lyrical Piano Quartet, is in the mix, too. Pop songs from the likes of Kay Start and Johnny Ray, and a particularly intriguing treatment of Dinah Washington's "The Bitter Earth," also figure in the picture, but are outnumbered on the recording.
It may be a while before I ever see the movie (that's what Netflix was invented for -- and besides, considering the reviews this flick has received, I don't see the need to hurry), but the soundtrack has certainly conjured up some intriguing images for me. The coolest image of all is
The soundtrack, chosen by Robbie Robertson, could almost serve as a mini-intro course in 20th- and early 21st-century music. Maybe some of the moviegoers will feel compelled to get some of this stuff onto their iPods, will start scanning the programs of their local musical organizations anxiously searching for opportunities to experience compositions like these in live performance, will rush to those performances and become subscribers, will become such a positive and dynamic influence on those organizations that programming across the land becomes broader and more daring, will ..... oh all right, I don't even believe it myself. But I had you going there for a moment, didn't I?
Bottom line: This is a very cool soundtrack, with excellent artists, including the Vienna Philharmonic (with Claudio Abbado conducting), and the eclectic mix of material makes an unusually vivid statement, even without the benefit of the film itself.
AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Andrew Cooper