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Osvaldo GOLIJOV (plus operatic and other source music) - The Man Who Cried : Film Music CD Reviews- January 2001

January 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /January/


Osvaldo GOLIJOV (plus operatic and other source music)
The Man Who Cried  
Salvatore Licitra (tenor); Taraf De Haïdouks (gypsy ensemble); Kronos Quartet; Iva Bittová (vocalist); Katia Labèque and Maielle Labèque (duo pianos)
  SONY SK 61870   [53:51]
 Amazon UK

Sally Potter describes her new film that stars Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro and Johnny Depp thus: "The Man Who Cried is a story about survival set in Paris in 1939. A girl, Suzie, looses everything and everyone she loves, but nevertheless finds a singing voice and begins a search for her long-lost father. The people she meets along the way (Lola, a Russian dancer; Dante, an Italian opera singer; and Cesar, a gypsy horseman) are also trying to survive, each in his or her own way. At first their struggles are personal - the fight for friendship, for money and power, for love. But with the threat of war, survival issues become matters of life or death…[a film] for grieving for the gypsies who lost their lives in the concentration camps of the Second World War."

Potter incorporates several operatic arias sung with fervour by the up-and-coming young Italian tenor, Salvatore Licitra. These are: the stirring 'Di quella pira' from Verdi's Il trovatore; the romantic 'E lucevan le Stelle' from Puccini's Tosca; and the melancholy 'Je crois entendre encore' from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers which appears three times on this album in different forms - twice with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House conducted by Sian Edwards (but in one case with Yiddish lyrics); and with the Labeques. It therefore becomes something of a key thematic reference. An extraordinary but very apt arrangement, again by Golijov, of 'Dido's Lament' from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas is sung by Iva Bittová with the gypsy band, Taraf de Haïdouks. Other source music includes another vivid, strongly-accented arrangement by Golijov of the old standard 'Jealousy' and an arrangement of the blues number, 'Gloomy Sunday' sung with great feeling by Iva Bittová with a jazz trio of piano, bass and drums. A rendering of the Neapolitan number, 'Torna a Surriento' by Licitra is also included.

But it is the amazing original music composed by Golijov that impresses most. For such a dark story he produces some profound and deeply disturbing music. 'Close Your Eyes' uncannily evokes tear drops falling in the perspectives of the Kronos's 'glassy' pizzicatos'. An extraordinary piece this, very evocative and sadly ruminative. Another remarkable Golijov cue is 'Without a word'. This evokes a nightmare world, probably of the Nazi gas chambers. You marvel how Golijov persuades the Kronos players to suggest such disturbing off stage screaming and low moanings. But there are also many tracks of colourful and more joyful gypsy dances performed by Taraf de Haïdouks.

A most unusual score for the adventurous.

Ian Lace


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