String quartets performed by The Kronos Quartet
Michael Riesman, Conductor


Nonesuch 79113-2


1. Mishima/Opening 2:46
2. November 25: morning 4:08
3. 1934: grandmother & Kimitake 3:37
4. Temple of the golden pavilion (“like some enormous music”) 3:06
5. Osamu’s Theme: Kyoko’s house 2:58
6. 1937: Saint Sebastian
7. Kyoko’s house (“stage blood is not enough”) 5:00
8. November 25: Ichigaya 2:11
9. 1957: award montage 3:56
10. Runaway horses (“poetry written with a splash of blood”) 9:09
11. 1962: body building 1:29
12. November 25: the last day 1:30
13. F-104: epilogue from Sun and Steel 1:59
14. Mishima/Closing 2:57


Over the last fifteen years, Philip Glass has defined a new form of biographical opera. There was never any doubt that he would be the ideal composer for Mishima, a mosaic film biography. I wanted a score which would unite the film’s disparate elements and propel it forward. Such a score, by definition, would be a distinct, cohesive composition.

I only wondered how to induce Glass. Money was out of the question: the film was already an egregiously under-budgeted labor of love production. I opted for a soft sell. (I’ve subsequently learned how remarkably resistant Philip is to a hard one.) I simply gave him the script and all the materials by and about Mishima at my disposal.

Philip responded enthusiastically and after several pre-production meetings and a trip to the Tokyo locations, wrote a score from the script as he would from a libretto. With Kurt Munkacsi and Michael Riesman he recorded a temp synthesizer version.

I edited the film to this temp score, altering it as necessary: cutting, expanding and repeating cues. I then played the edited film and score for Philip. He rewrote the music to fit the film’s now-precise specifications and recorded it with a full orchestra. Later, he supervised last-minute changes during the final mix.

In keeping with the original concept, Glass has re-edited the score as a distinct musical entity. His Mishima equally serves the film and stands alone.

— Paul Schrader


Original music composed by Philip Glass. Conducted by Michael Riesman. String quartets performed by The Kronos Quartet: David Harrington, violin. John Sherba, violin. Hank Dutt, viola. Joan Jeanrenaud, cello.

Produced by Kurt Munkacsi for Euphorbia Productions, Ltd. NY, NY. Recording engineer: Dan Dryden, Assistant: Don Christensen. Recorded at: Greene St. Studios NY, NY and The Living Room Inc. NY, NY. Remixed by: Dan Dryden, Kurt Munkacsi, Michael Riesman. Remixed at: The Living Room, Inc. NY, NY. Contractor for the musicians: Earl Shendell. Mastered by: Bill Kipper, Masterdisk, NY, NY.

Album art direction: Eiko Ishioka. Photo: Sukita. Album design: Makoto Kumakura.

Published by Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc. (ASCAP). © 1985 Nonesuch Records.



String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima)
Music for Mishima

Philip on Film on Nonesuch
The Truman Show on Milan Records
Kronos Quartet on Nonesuch
Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass on Nonesuch Philip Glass Soundtracks – Michael Riesman

Mishima by Paul Schrader
The Truman Show by Peter Weir

BOOKS:Film Music Screencraft by Mark Russell