Semi Shigure
International Title
 The Samurai I Loved
Music By: Taro Iwashiro
Record Label: Nippon Columbia
Running Time: 44:27 Discs: 1
Release: September 2005 CD Number: COCB-53395
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

My first exposure to Taro Iwashiro was his score for Sinking of Japan (2006), which was mediocre at best and generally forgettable. Fast foward six years and I finally got to listen to the score to the critically acclaimed The Samurai I Loved. From track one, it was hard not to be captivated, and I made a effort to look up other scores Iwashiro had done to see if this might be a composer to be on the lookout for, only to realize I had already been exposed to his work in the 2006 disaster movie. I say this because the scores are so different, and The Samurai I Loved excels in its approach.

Fitting in well with the romantic angle of the film, the soundtrack for The Samurai I Loved is very soothing, relying heavily on violins, flutes and pianos. The disc starts strong with the violin rich "First Love" and really never dips in quality. The first theme on the disc is a highlight, but the tempo set in place is consistent even with the tranquil piano led track "The Remaining Flowers". On the downside, the CD has pretty much no range, with even the "Deadly Blade" starting out only slightly menacing before also becoming soothing, but what it does, it does very well. This also causes the score to meld together a bit. The themes weave together and are generally fantastic, but they all excel for the same reasons such as the violin led "Cheek Wet with Tears" which also sounds familiar with the first track on the disc. Iwashiro isn't driving a theme into the ground, as each theme is distinct, but the consistent approach does make the entire CD feel almost like one long suite.

Bottom line, I was won over by Iwashiro's style on this disc. He was tragically ill suited for the disaster score for Sinking of Japan (2006), but seems right in his element doing the score for this romantic, period drama. The CD's only two downfalls are that it's a little short, a little more than 40 minutes, and that if one doesn't like this more sweet and soothing style of music they are out of luck as the theming is not varied at all in its approach.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. First Love
  2. Prayer at Dawn
  3. Dreaming of the Beloved One
  4. The Remaining Flowers
  5. Whispering Rice Fields
  6. Deadly Blade
  7. Cheek Wet with Tears
  8. For Father
  9. Tatsutahime's Premonition
  10. Silence