Saturday, May 7, 2016

Passion (1989) - Peter Gabriel

Review #19

Artiste:  Peter Gabriel
Year:  1989
Genre:  Soundtrack / World / New Age
Duration:  67min
Label:  Real World Music
Format:  CD

  1. The Feeling Begins’ – 4:00
  2. ‘Gethsemane’ – 1:26
  3. ‘Of These, Hope’ – 3:55
  4. ‘Lazarus Raised’ – 1:26
  5. ‘Of These, Hope – Reprise’ – 2:44
  6. ‘In Doubt’ – 1:33
  7. ‘A Different Drum’ – 4:40
  8. ‘Zaar’ – 4:53
  9. ‘Troubled’ – 2:55
  10. ‘Open’ – 3:27
  11. ‘Before Night Falls’ – 2:18
  12. ‘With This Love’ – 3:40
  13. ‘Sandstorm’ – 3:02
  14. ‘Stigmata’ – 2:28
  15. ‘Passion’ – 7:39
  16. ‘With This Love (Choir)’ – 3:20
  17. ‘Wall of Breath’ – 2:29
  18. ‘The Promise of Shadows’ – 2:13
  19. ‘Disturbed’ – 3:35
  20. ‘It Is Accomplished’ – 2:55
  21. ‘Bread and Wine’ – 2:21

When Martin Scorsese made the controversial The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), few would have thought that Peter Gabriel, a rock musician by trade, would compose the music for the picture.  The result is a sensational, transcendent score that should be considered a masterwork. 

Winning the Grammy for Best New Age album, Gabriel’s Passion is more world music-esque in treatment, particularly his use of ethnic instruments (a look at the album booklet reveals a fascinating collection of more than twenty instruments used) such as the Armenian Doudouk, Kurdish Tenbur, Turkish Ney Flute, performed by world-class ethnic instrumentalists. 

The album features music from Scorsese’s film, but there is also additional music that completes the experience.  I personally think that one needs to take into consideration that Gabriel’s work here is one of those rare moments in the history of cinema when an unlikely alliance yielded a perfect artistic endeavour. 

Scorsese was bold to tell Christ’s story (adapted from Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel) like never before, humanizing rather than deify him.  The music, earthly and organic yet invigorating and inspiring, stems from the same school of thought.  All 21 tracks in the album are top-notch and reward repeat listenings.  I doubt there will be music created in this way for cinema ever again.

‘Of These, Hope’ – A track that starts with a cacophony of trumpet-like sounds that give way to a strong, rhythmic bass line.  The ambient melody is simple but discernible, performed by synthesizers.  This piece transports us across a vast land in search of hope, and perhaps, faith.

‘A Different Drum’ – My favourite track.  There’s a heavy use of percussion and ethnic vocalization that drives the music.  But what gives me the chills is around the 1:30 mark, when the music soars to the skies with uplifting voice-work by Peter Gabriel.  Stunning, to say the least. 

‘Troubled’ – This piece features some of the finest drumming and percussion work of the whole album.

‘It is Accomplished’ – Accompanying the final scene of the film into the end credits, this enlightening piece is full of rejoice and hope.  With a repeating melody, the track brings us a sense of victory over sin, and of unwavering faith and commitment to the cause.  One of the most inspiring pieces of the album.

Reviewed on Luxman Stereo Integrated Amplifier A-383, Marantz Compact Disc Player CD-63SE, and a pair of 1973 New Advent Loudspeakers.

Sound Quality: Astounding recording with dynamic sound


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