“The Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon soundtrack is every bit as big a masterpiece as the film from which it comes.”
– Kevin Lynch, Capital Times
Director Ang Lee pitched his epic blockbuster Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as “a dream of China…that probably never existed.” Composer Tan Dun had only two weeks to dream up the entire score.
But the deadline pressure turned out big dividends for Dun, whose masterful score (with a big assist from Yo-Yo Ma) was a note-perfect accompaniment to the epic film adventure story set in the 18th century, during China’s Qing dynasty. Nothing quite like it had come before,, combining a love story, an epic adventure, and eye-popping martial arts special effects.
Needless to say, the searing melodies also rocketed Tan Dun to fame. Not only did he win an Oscar for his soundtrack, he later refashioned the score into the Crouching Tiger Concerto for cello and orchestra (premiered naturally by Yo-Yo Ma), and still later into a suite, both for the Western cello, as well as for the traditional Chinese erhu.
Nominated for 10 and winner of 4 Academy Awards (including Best Original Soundtrack for composer Tan Dun), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” became an international phhenomenon upon its release in 2000. It is the highest-grossing foreign film ever released in America, topping $100 million in its first year.
Called upon to contribute to one of our Alumni Showcase programs while locked down in Beijing, Heifetz alum Mo Mo sprang into action to give us this homegrown performance of music from Tan Dun’s suite, with the help of pianist Ziwei Xie. And it truly shows how in this times truly memorable music can happen in even the most makeshift conditions. (Look for a cameo by Ziwei’s kitty at a key moment!). You can check out the entire program here, and subscribe below to catch all of our Videos of the Week!
Composer Tan Dun.