There is a staggering factoid about this release that John Zorn notes near the end of his engaging and entertaining liner essay: This is his twenty fourth volume of his recorded film music to appear in the last 25 years! Even considering Zorn's vast cataloglog as a composer, producer and musician, this is a staggering feat. This work, composed for Timo Veltkamp's 2010 black and white feature film, De Nobelprijswinnaar (Trans: The Nobel Prize Winner) was originally meant to be scored by Van Dyke Parks who, due to other commitments, had to drop out at the last minute. Zorn's score, written for piano trio, is among his simplest, yet most elegant and immediate. Performed by pianist Rob Burger, bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer/vibraphonist Kenny Wollesen, these 15 cues feel linked by their own musical narrative, as if, based on harmonics alone they were all taken from the same root and elaborated upon. Not exactly as variations, but certainly motivated by them. Zorn makes no attempt to hide his influences in these compositions either. One can hear Vince Guaraldi throughout here, but particularly in the breezy opening title theme, and in the track that immediately follows it, "Writer's Block (IlseTheme)" -- particularly in the way Burger interacts with Dunn before shifting keys and soloing in a slightly faster tempo. Other cues, such as "Fyodor And Anabel," touch on the sparse gracefulness of Nino Rota's piano music. Elsewhere, on "Ghost Of A Guilty Conscience," one can hear Ennio Morricone's placement of subtle sonic effects inside a nocturnal melody; post bop jazz is utilized to either wryly comic ("Denouement") or gently dramatic ("Joachim West") effect as well -- and this is pure Zorn. Perhaps the highest compliment to pay a recording like this is not only to claim that it stands on its own as a piece of music -- because, as in all of Zorn's scores, it does -- but moreover that it is so utterly, cleverly and aesthetically engaging, it creates in the listener the desire to see the film and experience how this music functions within it.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
|The Nobel Prize Winner|