Jurgen Knieper's haunting score does a good job of evoking the film's melancholy mood even without the accompanying visuals. The somber music is permeated by a deep sense of loneliness and romantic longing, which is expressed particularly well in the cello playing; although there is a risk that this music could become leaden or even somnolent, the individual tracks are short and varied enough to avoid this problem. The music tracks flow together well with each other and also with the spoken-word performances that are interspersed between them. It's unfortunate for non-German speakers that Peter Handke's text isn't translated on this album; however, the recitation by Bruno Ganz (who plays the lead in the film) of verses from Handke's "Song of Childhood" sounds great even if you don't know the meaning of specific words. Solveig Dommartin and Curt Bois also do a fine job of reciting Handke's text, but Dommartin's track may be a bit long (five minutes and 45 seconds) for those who are primarily interested in listening to the music. In addition to the spoken-word material and Knieper's score, the album also contains an interesting instrumental piece by composer/performer Laurent Petitgand, the appropriately titled "Zirkusmusik (Circus Music)"; selections by Nick Cave and Crime & the City Solution, who appear in the film and perfectly fit its mood; and songs by Laurie Anderson, Tuxedomoon, Sprung aus der Walken, and Minimal Compact, all of whom seem at home here.
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AllMusic Review by Todd Kristel