Tuesday Tune – Voyage To Avalon by Kenji Kawai

Today we’re branching out from our usual type of music and we’re venturing into soundtracks. “Voyage To Avalon” is a piece written by composer KEnji Kawai for the Polish/Japanese film Avalon. Directed by Mamoru Oshii, Avalon is the story of Ash, a player in a future virtual reality game called “Avalon”. The game is illegal and yet it offers an outlet for many players and viewers. There is supposedly a secret level that only the best players can discover. After several players have entered “Avalon” and not come out, their comatose bodies hauled off to the hospital, Ash tries to find this secret level.

Avalon is thematically linked to Oshii’s more well known film, Ghost in the Shell, but is quite a good film in its own right. For the majority of the film, the world is displayed in muted, sepia tones, but near the end, things change. As Ash is making her way through one of the levels, she comes upon a concert hall where the orchestra is playing the following piece.

I’m not really an orchestral type of person, though I do like a lot of soundtracks and some classical music. I really, really do not like opera. However, this piece is just amazing, not the least because of the range of soprano Elzbieta Towarnicka. In the context of the film, this haunting, occasionally sublime piece packs quite a punch to the end act. If you enjoyed Ghost in the Shell, I highly recommend Avalon. The following video if from a live performance of the Avalon soundtrack. I stayed away from the clip from the movie to avoid spoilers for those who may wish to see the film.