Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite

Princess Mononoke Symphonic SuiteTracks: 8
Running Time:
47 minutes

Date of Review: 01 Aug 2012

Grade: A


  1. The Legend of Ashitaka
  3. The Journey to the West
  4. Mononoke Hime
  5. The Forest of the Deer God
  6. Requiem – The Demon Power
  7. The World of the Dead – Adagio of Life & Death
  8. Ashitaka and San

All tracks composed and arranged by Joe Hisaishi
Performed by The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Mario Klemens
Piano: Joe Hisaishi

A symphonic rendering of the major themes from the Princess Mononoke score.

The Review
In the liner notes, composer Joe Hisaishi states that he chose the Czech Philharmonic for the symphonic version of Princess Mononoke’s score because he wanted to hear “The Legend of Ashitaka” played with a “deeply ‘Slavic’ feeling”. I would have to say that Mr. Hisaishi made a wise choice. Found on this album are the major themes and cues from Princess Mononoke, rearranged and presented  in eight movements in a form suitable for concert performance. While the original soundtrack cues are quite short – usually not more than two minutes apiece – the pieces here range from roughly four to eight minutes in length.

The Czech Philharmonic under Mario Klemens’s command superbly interprets Joe Hisaishi’s score. The music is as sweeping as it is when heard in the film’s context, though in this symphonic format, it can be appreciated even by those who may not have seen Princess Mononoke. Hisaishi’s new arrangements channel Igor Stravinsky at times, most notably in “The Forest of the Deer God”, with its woodwind lines, chaotic dynamics, and chord structures very reminiscent of Le Sacre du Printemps. All of the pieces in this symphonic suite summarize the major themes in the score quite well, and Hisaishi lends his hand at piano on a couple of them, with moving renditions of “Mononoke Hime” and “Ashitaka and San”.

Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite is a fantastic presentation of the music from one of Studio Ghibli’s most acclaimed films. For those that enjoy its score but wish to hear the music in a more expanded format, the performance found here is a must for your collection.


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