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The Kite Runner – film score (2007)
Alberto IGLESIAS (b.1955)
Opening Titles [3:21] 1
The Call, Kabul 1978 [2:33] 1
He Hates Me [1:08] 1
Sin [1:34] 1
Kite Tournament [5:40] 1
Hassan Theme [2:58] 1
Plant The Watch [1:30] 1
Russians Invade [2:23] 1
The Truth [1:59] 1
Fuel Tanker [3:09] 1
End Phone Call [2:06] 1
The Stadium [2:34] 1
Escape [3:10] 1
Fly A Kite [4:27] 1
Reading The Letter [2:50] 1
Ahmad ZAHIR (1946-1979)
Tanha Shudam Tanha [3:35] 2
Ehsan AMAN (b.1959)
Omaid e Man [1:47] 3
Dukhtare Darya [3:43] 3
Sami YUSUF (b.1980) and Bara KHERIGI
Supplication [4:06] 4
Sussan Deyhim (vocalist) 1
Ahmad Zahir (vocalist) 2
Ehsan Aman (vocalist) 3
Sami Yusuf (vocalist) 4
Hollywood Studios Symphony/Michael Nowak 1
rec. Cata Studios (Madrid), Warner Bros. Eastwood Scoring Stage, Conway Studios and Remote Control Productions, date unknown. DDD
EDGE MUSIC 477 7333 [62:47]


Experience Classicsonline

The music for The Kite Runner has been nominated in the best film score category in both the Academy Awards and BAFTAs, so there ought to be no need for me to convince anyone that it is "good" film music. 

But that does raise the perennial question of what makes such music "good" in the first place. For, paradoxically, while a score needs to add to the complete cinematic package by enhancing atmosphere and drawing out and magnifying the audience's emotions, it actually fails in its proper purpose if it is so obtrusive that it draws inappropriate attention to itself within the overall mix. 

As a result, anyone who, on the basis of Oscar or BAFTA nominations, buys a soundtrack album expecting to find music that will necessarily stand alone as valid - or even enjoyable - in its own right, runs a significant risk of disappointment.

That said, Alberto Iglesias's musical score is undeniably effective in adding to the powerful emotional punch that The Kite Runner packs. It is without question, one of the past year's most moving and engrossing movies. 

The story centres around two boys in pre-Taliban Afghanistan, the middle class Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi) and the servant boy Hassan (a remarkable performance from Zekeria Ebrahimi). Their friendship, based around a shared enthusiasm for kite flying, is tragically brought to an end after Hassan is brutally raped and Amir - who saw the attack but was too scared to intervene - rejects the friend whose continued presence is a permanent reminder of his own moral and physical cowardice. 

Years later, by now a refugee in America and aware that Hassan has, in the meantime, been killed, Amir decides to return to Afghanistan to atone for his earlier sins by rescuing Hassan's young son from sexual enslavement to a Taliban warlord. 

The Kite Runner thus deals with serious and moving issues of friendship, loyalty and honour and, apart from the scenes where the boys demonstrate pure joy in flying their kites, its score is appropriately complex. 

Utilising stringed instruments as the santur, oud and rubab and wind instruments such as the bansuri and the ney, its predominant characteristics are rhythmic intensity (track 7, Kite Tournament) and plaintive lyricism (track 5, Sin, and track 12, Truth). Where appropriate - and with varying degrees of subtlety - Alberto Iglesias's palette augments the eastern instruments with the full resources of a western symphony orchestra. 

Apart from Iglesias's original score, there is also some well integrated music by two stars of the pre-Taliban music scene: Ahmad Zahir (even now, nearly 30 years after his mysterious death, popularly revered as "Afghanistan's Nightingale") and Tajik singer and émigré Ehsan Aman, still active today though based in the USA. Contemporary Anglo-Iranian singer Sami Yusuf adds a song (track 21, Supplication) that conclusively demonstrates the overriding importance of orchestration and rhythm in creating atmosphere, for it makes a most evocative and "authentic sounding" contribution despite being sung in English. 

This soundtrack album can be best appreciated as a memento of the film. If not immediately memorable, the score is certainly atmospheric and undeniably skilful. Iglesias is the regular composer for Pedro Almodovar's films and was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for his music for The Constant Gardener. 

But I would suggest that you hold on and wait for the eventual release of a DVD where you will appreciate how the music fits into a much bigger picture - that, moreover, offers a superbly moving and effective demonstration of the art of cinema.

Rob Maynard


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