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Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker release 'Perfume,' the first soundtrack from this award-winning partnership

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'I like everything that speaks to me in a powerful voice and conveys to me a specific vision. I don't mind what genre it is. This applies to all arts and to the cinema as well as to music.'
(Tom Tykwer)

PERFUME tells the story of a man who is obsessed by the idea of creating the perfect perfume. The novel, by Patrick Seskind, was written in 1985 and has been translated into 45 languages, so far selling more than 15 million copies worldwide, making it the most successful novel of post-war German literature. The film, which will open in German cinemas on 14 September, boasts a top-class cast of international actors such as Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman and up-and-coming talent Rachel Hurd-Wood, and an original soundtrack from the film's director Tom Tykwer, recorded by Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker and released exclusively on EMI Classics - the first soundtrack from this internationally acclaimed award-winning partnership.

Tom Tykwer, the multi-award-winning German film director is, like Clint Eastwood, one of the few internationally renowned people who not only direct the film and are mainly responsible for the script, but also compose the score! Tom Tykwer has developed a visual language which has led him to international success with the feature films "Run Lola Run" and "Heaven".

The plot: France in the 18th century. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille has been blessed by nature with a superhuman olfactory sense. Rejected by his mother, he grows up in an orphanage and as a young boy is sold to a tanner, where he has to fulfil extremely dangerous tasks. Grenouille quickly realises his extraordinary talent and becomes apprentice to the famous perfumer Baldini. The olfactory genius not only enters the realm of scents and odours but compulsively starts to follow the fascinating fragrance of a beautiful young girl, whom he finally kills in order to take up all the nuances of her odour. On his way to Grasse, the French centre of perfumery, Grenouille retreats into a cavern where he realises that he himself possesses no odour at all. He is obsessed with the thought of creating the perfect perfume. To achieve this goal, he kills several virgin girls in Grasse and distils their odour for his perfume creation. When he sets eyes on the ravishingly beautiful Laura, daughter of a wealthy merchant, he knows that only she will help bring his plans to a perfect close...

Together with his two long-term musical companions Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, Tom Tykwer started working on the music of this film long before he started with the actual filming. 'I asked myself, how do we approach the olfactory substance of this film? How do we treat the fact that this film is all about the realm of scents and odours? I knew that we would not make a film dominated by special effects and that the theme of odour would not be represented through excessive visual characteristics, it somehow had to try and be realistic. I realised that, if at all, this could only be done through music. The parallels with music are also pointed out in the novel - the whole alphabet of perfumery is taken from music theory, in the perfumery business you also speak of chords and single notes.' This is another reason why music holds such an enormously important place in this film, because scents, like sounds, call up memories and make an impact on our personality. Tom Tykwer and his collaborators have taken this into account at every single moment.

The soundtrack, with its symphonic appeal reaching from airy and light sounds to majestically heavy motifs, manages with stylistic verve to make the world of odours downright tangible. The orchestra closely and cautiously follows in the steps of the plot, taking up the historical atmosphere of the 18th century and yet remaining entangled in the universe of olfactory attractions. The choir pieces, recorded in Riga by the National Choir of Latvia, lend a sacral and spherical aspect to many passages whilst the body of sound from the Berliner Philharmoniker produces soundscapes to indulge the senses. If the soul of a human is his odour, as Grenouille states in the film, then music is the heartbeat of the film.