Edward Artemiev

Solaris/The Mirror/Stalker

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Edward Artemiev is best known for his electronic music scores to three of Andrei Tarkovsky's most striking films: Solaris (1972), The Mirror (1974), and Stalker (1979). Then it comes as no surprise that the music has been packaged and repackaged in various ways, official (including their first appearance in the mid-'80s on the Soviet record label Melodia) or not. This collection remains the most extensive and best presented. First released by Torso Kino in 1990, it has been reissued on the label of the composer's son in 1999. The particularity of this album resides in its track list. Choosing against logic, it alternates pieces (or "scenes") from Stalker and Solaris -- there is only one track from Mirror. Artemiev likes to use one main theme for each film and develop variations around it. The fact that the Stalker tracks are separated from each other allows the listener a chance to forget the theme and not grow tired of it. The alternation also creates an interesting tension between the melodic material of Stalker and the much more spatial, ethereal soundscapes of Solaris. The composer's music at the time was still strongly based on the one-of-a-kind ANS synthesizer (a photo-sensitive machine). It shimmers gracefully and remains a minor classic in film music and curriculum listening for science-fiction fans. The set concludes with "Dedication to Andrei Tarkovsky," a piece recorded in 1989. Although more recent, it sticks close to the atmosphere of this album, adding an elegiac touch. Highly recommended.

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