Vincent Vo | Los Angeles, CA | 08/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great film music is often described as music that doesn't make itself as noticeable, in order for the viewer to absorb him or herself to the character driven narrative of the film, while serving itself as a façade for the emotions that naturally arise from the progressive constrains of the narrative. This is partly true, as music has always captured an essence, which can strike itself as forceful or simple. One could listen to the Ravel trio and say that it is a powerful composition, but this belief is often aroused because the Trio is a great masterpiece. So how could a film correctly use a legendary composition to serve its purpose without making the use of the composition, with respect to the movie, as trite and meager? The answer, as you watch the film, is quite simple: Make an honest, character-driven, cinematic masterpiece.I've heard of the Ravel Trio and Sonatas before I saw the film, I don't remember what emotions aroused inside me as I heard the compositions, but I knew I was listening to one of the most passionate music that I've ever heard. So with great skepticism, I watched the film. So what were my thoughts after viewing the film? I must honestly say that I have never seen a movie that captured the internal expressions of the characters, while correctly translating the character-driven emotions to the soundtrack of the film, as magnificently used to the extent of "Un Coeur en Hiver." The main character, Stephane, and his great love for music, while keeping himself isolated from those that love him by reasons that are of an unquestionably, enigmatic pragmatism, is greatly, yet surreptitiously, amplified by the premier movement of the Ravel Trio.This is a great soundtrack that reveals the essence of one of the unfairly neglected series of composition. The "Un Coeur en Hiver" soundtrack is one of only a few albums that has these works of Ravel. I have heard every version in the market and this version, led by the energetic play by Jean-Jacques Kantorow, is, with the exception of the Shumsky and, to a less extent, Sitkovesky recordings, the highest in quality and execution. The Ravel Trio and Sonatas can either be filled with emotional lament or can be overflowing with great joy. But as "Un Coeur en Hiver" can demonstrate, music drives the emotional ambivalence in us and translates itself, as one can fairly describe, as resonant. This soundtrack is a great example of how music can capture how we truly feel about the characters in movies and, more importantly, in general."