April 2006 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Michael McLennan
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster: Len Mullenger

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Gabriel Yared: Film Music Vol. 3 - Les Orientales  
Music composed by Gabriel Yared
Performed by Gabriel Yared and various artists
Produced/Orchestrated/Conducted by Michel Ganot and Gabriel Yared
Hanna K - orchestrated by Yared, conducted by Michel Ganot and Yared
The other two films are composed and arranged by Yared - no conductor.
The album is produced by Yared and Jean-Pierre Arquie
  Available on Cinefonia (CFY-003)
Running Time: 64:42
To purchase this release direct from Cinefonia’s website, go to the ‘Cinefonia Records’ tab, place the mouse over ‘Catalogue – CFR’ tab and select ‘Yared Collection’ here.

Under the banner of Les Orientales these early works of Yared are represented by three works from the early 1980's: Hanna K from 1983, Les Petites Guerres from 1982 and Invitation au Voyage from 1982 and are described by the composer as “the fruit of the musical impressions left by 17 years spent in Lebanon” during his childhood and adolescence and the memories of what he felt and heard there.

The first work represented is Hanna K from 1983, starting with the track 'Generique Debut', a very simple theme that lends itself to many variations throughout the 12 tracks present. It's gorgeous and poignant theme that is superb in it's full string arrangement. This is an exotic score full of interesting Arabic rhythms and an array of instruments such as the kamanja (the Arabic violin), the ney (a reed flute) the oud (a lute) and the kanoun (a type of cimbalom played with plectrum). The superb end title 'Hanna K' has a very interesting 13/8 rhythm played over strings and solo kakamanja. This is easily the strongest of the three scores presented.

Les Petites Guerres from 1982 portrays the difficult lives of Lebanese youths during the long war that tore the country apart. The music was written before the shoot and is mostly used in scenes without dialogue. Yared plays all the keyboards, piano, various synthesizers and the Fairlight, he also sings the vocal percussion and 'rhythmic breathings' (listen to track 16, ‘bouts de souffle'). On top of this, ethnic solos were recorded under the composer’s guidance. This is a rhythmic score that has quite a hypnotic effect on the listener that I would describe as 'New Age'/world music-like.

In my opinion, Invitation au Voyage from 1982 is the weakest work on this album. As with Les Petites Guerres, Yared again plays all the keyboards and lends his voice and percussion. Unlike that score though, I found the use of synthesizers in this to be a little cheesy, though perhaps grating is a more apt term. (Mind the pun.) What saved this last work for me was the strange 'quarter tone' playing of Lebanese trumpet player Nassim Malouf, who features on some of the tracks, a distant and ghost like sound that's sort of like an ethereal Miles Davis,

I'd recommend Les Orientales with some reservations, if you like ethnic / World / New Age type of sounds with a distinct Yared flavour, then I'd say give it a go. It needs more than a few listens to get into and I personally found it very rewarding. Yared’s liner notes add to the appeal of the album.

Tim Lines

Hanna K: 4
Les Petites Guerres: 3.5
Invitation au Voyage: 2.5

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