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July 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /July01/

  KOCH Poland(SILVA) 52296-2   [35:35]


Elegant, minimal and eloquent as ever, this is archetypal Preisner, the Polish composer simply doing one of the things he does best; produce autumnal, edge-of-reality atmospheric soundscapes. From the first note the music has the unmistakable sound and feel of Preisner; ambient, slow, melancholic, like something half-rememberedů Fittingly the film is about the gap between memory and reality, past and present, and from the synopsis included - the packaging corresponds with the three previous volumes in Silva Screen's Preisner Edition, even though the spine carries only the Koch Poland imprint, Silva's appearing on the back cover - should be most intriguing. It is to be hoped Weiser gains a UK release.

There is no orchestra. The music is scored for guitar, John Parricelli, bass, Andy Pask, trumpet & cornet, Steve Sidwell, piano, Leszek Mozdzer, electronic keyboards, Stefan Sendecki, and soprano, Elzbieta Towarnicka. Anyone familiar with Preisner's music will recognise these names as the composer's virtual house band, and they work together as seamlessly and fluidly as a modern jazz ensemble. It is a similar line-up to that found on Aberdeen.

Tunes are not much in evidence, though there are melodic fragments, ghosts of melodies arising from the sombre atmospheric textures - one fragment which appears at the opening and closing of the score echoes the lonely sax melody which haunts Gabriel Yarde's Betty Blue. Fundamentally though, this is seamless mood-landscape music, taking Preisner ever closer to the territory of an artist such as Jan Gabarek at his most introspective. I have not mentioned specific tracks because although there are breaks, the nine cues maintain one mood throughout.

I find this music extraordinarily beautiful; some will find it extraordinarily boring and lacking in 'proper' compositional virtues. It is at one level simply Preisner doing what he does best, and at a different level simply yet another Preisner album. When music of such limpid tranquillity results it would be foolish to complain. The musicianship and recorded sound are both, typically, superlative.

Gary S. Dalkin


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