Hero: Overture
Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment Hero: Overture · Tan Dun / 谭盾 / 譚盾 · Kodo / 鼓童 · Itzhak Perlman / 帕爾曼 Hero - Music from the Original Soundtra...

If you haven’t seen Hero, first off, you should really put it on your “watch this” list. It’s such a well-done and visually stunning work of art. Its plot is based around a series of historical events that took place around the unification of China as a single nation. So… yeah, not quite the right country for this fandom, but it does have taiko drumming.

Super-abridged summary: there are gorgeous and highly metaphorical combat scenes, a single well-developed and realistic (if tragic) relationship in which the partners have major differences, and the story is told from three sides—each side having a specific color theme and style, with white being the ultimate truth. There’s minimal sex and violence, and nothing explicit in either case. I watched it when I was eight and had to skip only two scenes.

The movie is in fact on Netflix, so if you have a couple hours and good taste… well, you should see how you feel about it. I find that it works wonders for inspiration, even though the movie itself makes me cry every time.

Speaking of which, even if you don’t watch it, I’m putting this link on this blog because if you write or create—in general, but particularly for Hakuōki due to similar plot elements—this soundtrack is heavenly to work with. There are few things more inspiring to me personally than this particular music, especially if you’re dealing with heavier subjects. My absolute favorite isn’t on the official album release, unfortunately, but my next favorites (”Love in Distance” and “Gone with Leaves”) are.


Contemporary Classical (for lack of a better term) music seems to have a pretty bad reputation with the general public. Yes, there’s a lot of unnecessarily weird music around, but there’s still a great number of people within the last century and at the moment who have been doing truly fascinating and beautiful things. Tan Dun’s Water Concerto is a great example of this. It’s a unique and original idea, but used in a way that creates incredible music. His Paper Concerto is also worth checking out.

Just watched "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" for the first time in seriously, three years.

I was obsessed with this movie when it came out.  Shows what taste I had.

This film screams perfection.  Everything about it is just yes.  Ahhh.  Rapture.

Not to mention, Tan Dun (University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award Winner)’s score is divine with Yo-Yo Ma’s cello solos.  

Zhang Ziyi.  Michelle Yeoh.  Chow Yun Fat.  Hello?  Go watch this ten-time Oscar-nominated film now.  It’s superb.


Concerto for Zheng and String Orchestra, (¼) by Tan Dun, with Yuan Li.

WHY DOES THIS PIECE NOT HAVE MORE VIEWS. Watch the whole thing, it’s incredible. The orchestra members yell at several points in the piece, I love it. The things she can do with that instrument…


Another wonderful bit by Tan Dun, this time with Ceramic instruments. Follow-up to my last post on his Water Concerto.


Celebrated Grammy and Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun’s creative repertoire spans the boundaries of classical music, multimedia performance, and Eastern and Western traditions. His first Internet Symphony, which was commissioned by Google/YouTube, has reached over 15 million people online. At Out of Doors on August 12, in a program presented with long-standing collaborating partner the Chinese American Arts Council, Tan Dun conducts his Martial Arts Trilogy—three companion concertos—performed by the Metropolis Ensemble. Based on three award winning martial arts films by Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou and Feng Xioagang—Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, and The Banquet—the Trilogy explores the struggles between love, power, desire, and duty.