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Fumio Hayasaka’s Seven Samurai and Rashomon recordings in MP3

Like some of the online streams of Kurosawa’s movies that I have liked to recently, the following will be something that is strictly speaking not entirely legal. Bear that in mind as you read through this post.

Before his untimely death in 1955, Fumio Hayasaka wrote the music to a good number of Kurosawa’s films, including Seven Samurai and Rashomon. While some of the scores are nothing short of being exceptional, the original recordings themselves are unfortunately often of relatively poor sound quality, and therefore not really made for an optimal listening experience.

This is why in 1991 the soundtracks to Seven Samurai and Rashomon were re-recorded (by whom, I do not know) and released on a CD in Japan. The pressing, however, was never very large, and the CD is now practically impossible to get hold of.

Fortunately for those who have not been able to get hold of the CD, the Cineville blog, which specialises in out-of-print soundtracks, has now posted a link to a RAR packet that includes MP3 files of the CD (with the bitrate of 192kbs). The link to the original Cineville blog post can be found here (scroll down to the bottom to find the direct download link). I warmly recommend you to check out the whole of Cineville, as well, for it is full of interesting soundtracks and links to other similar sites.

Listening now to the soundtrack, I must personally say that it is somewhat strange to hear these pieces in such a good sound quality. At the same time, what adds to the slightly weird feeling is that while the recordings are truthful to the original compositions, the end result is, of course, different from the original score. The difference is not huge, but the odd note here and there does disturb your ear, at least if you have listened to the soundtrack of Seven Samurai as often as I have in the past years. I suppose it will take getting used to.

Of course, if you are interested in Kurosawa soundtracks in general, also make sure to check the soundtracks section of AKN&I.


Discussion

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Jeremy

After listen to it, I got chills down my spine, very nice!

I agree with your comments, but a fantastic re-recording none the less

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Lucky

hi vili maunula

it’s like you wrote, not completely legal, indeed! 😉

but since this japanese release is not available anymore, i don’t feel TOO guilty about it.

I never heard the ORIGINAL score to these films, just saw the films on tv several years ago when i was a teenager, and i LOVED them immediately. later I read that Sergio Leone took a great deal of inspiration from Kurosawa, and I don’t only love Leone’s film for the great soundtracks (I do! – but not ONLY)…

as i can’t read japanese i just couldn’t find any information on the interpreter on this release. at least i found out about the original composer at the internet movie database and a little further re-search.

thanks for your nice article – though i would have prefered it, you didn’t give the direct link, but as it is protected by another site, well…. just don’t think about it. 😉

keep up your great work upon this exceptional director,
cheers, lucky

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Vili Maunula

Hi Lucky! You are right, I shouldn’t have linked directly to the file — it was really bad netiquette from my part. I have removed the direct link now.

Leone actually took more than just inspiration from Kurosawa — he famously stole a whole film, namely Yojimbo, which he turned into A Fistful of Dollars. Kurosawa wasn’t happy about it at all. 🙂

That said, I do like Leone’s work as well, and especially so Morricone’s music, which is timeless.

Regarding the legality of the download, I of course don’t personally have any real problems with it. 😉 I personally make a point of not downloading widely available material, but in the case of something like this that is not commercially available, I don’t think I am really stealing anyone’s profits if I take a listen.

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Lucky

Vili Maunula, you are a real Gentleman, thanks for your kind words etc.
I don’t think Leone would ‘steal’ Kurosawa’s ‘Yojimbo’, as it is very famous – I think it was more a ‘homage’, transferred to another genre… – and Leone changed that Genre, too…
But you’re the expert on Kurosawa, and when the Japanese master wasn’t pleased with Leone’s result, it’s probably not considered as a homage by HIM 🙂

Anyway – hands up for the lucky robbers! 😉
Lucky

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Olaf Hinson

Hi, is this still active? Wold be interested in knowing how to get the sound

Olaf

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Vili Maunula

It seems that the soundtrack website has been taken down, Olaf. Maybe the copyright holders decided that it was not ok to have the files available. Or, considering the obscurity of these particular pieces, I suppose that it was probably copyright holders of some of the other soundtracks that were distributed there.

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