|4.||Tanti Anna Prima|
|6.||Absalom's Death And Tango|
|8.||Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit|
|10.||Improvviso In Re Minore|
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|by Josh Wisch
May 21, 2004
The first track (Charlie Chaplin: Smile) is tender. The third track (Isaak Dunayevsky and Sergey Dreznin: Fantasy) if vibrant. When listening to track four (Astor Piazzolla: Tanti anni prima), my first thought was how expertly it walked a line between melodrama and exquisite sadness. Indeed, this track represents a 1984 film, "Enrico IV" which deals "with human madness and its repercussions". Track 6 (Leonid Desyatnikov: Absaloms Death and Tango) is partially a Klezmer piece. Listening to this one I have images of Rabbis dancing in my head (pardon the dangling participle, that is I have in my head, images, and those images are of dancing Rabbis).
This score has film music written by American composers, Russian composers, Italian composers, and Japanese composers, to name a few. It has music written for film, stage, and for the concert hall. Some of the music was arranged specially for this recording. The music represented spans generations, with some pieces written as early as 1930, and others far more recent. No album is a success, however, unless there is some sense of coherence to it. A piece of music can be eclectic to the point of madness, but if it has that base that keeps it grounded, it will work. The base in this case is provided by the violin virtuoso work of Gidon Kremer. He brings to each piece a marvelous interpretation. His technique is, of course, flawless, but far more breathtaking is the range he displays on this recording. To be able to make performing music this diverse appear so effortless is commendable.
Much of the direct film music represented here is from foreign films, older films, and other movies not given a broad "popular" release here in the United States. In this case, that is a strength of this recording for people discovering this music for the first time because it allows your mind to run freer than it usually can while listening to a mainstream score. For the more creative out there, may I also suggest imagining why some of the music sounds familiar, and attempting to link it back to the composers other works.
This collection of film and film-related music does not tell one single story, but it does represent an adventure in classical and avant-garde composition. You will not find here anything similar to the experimental work of a Hans Zimmer, for the format is far too classical: symphonic instruments for the most part. The adventure is in the actual compositions and their performances by Mr. Kremer, not so much in the instrumentation.
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