this is # 19 in the ongoing Saturday Soundtrack series
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, music composed by Rachel Portman, 1993 – Holly wood Records HR 61561-2 – 15 cues, total time 44 minutes
Take the gentle, graceful sound of Japanese music, orchestrate it for the traditional instruments plus orchestra, compose simple, beautiful flowing melody lines, create a thematic sequence and music that defines and supports the film without intruding on it, and you have the music for the film The Joy Luck Club.
This is soothing, restful music that embodies the story and characters of the film. The flute portions are particularly evocative. This is music that most listeners will let flow in the background, perhaps hearing a passage here and there as the CD plays.
The film has many emotional moments, and the music by Rachael Portman is wonderfully shaped to define them, but this is a soundtrack that struggles to stand on it’s own. I like it and listen to it often, but I usually don’t pay close attention because there’s not a great deal to pay attention too, it’s just gently there and in this case, that’s enough.