Cirque du Soleil

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Composer René Dupéré, who contributed to the scores for the Cirque du Soleil shows Saltimbanco, Alegría, and Mystère, but was supplanted by such successors as Benoit Jutras on subsequent projects, returns to the fold with his music for , staged at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Cirque du Soleil Musique, the organization's record division, calls this a "soundtrack," even though KÀ is a stage production, not a film. But then, "cast recording" doesn't seem quite right as a term for it, either. Dupéré's music, meant to accompany another of the renowned circus' extravaganzas of staging, acrobatics, and magic, is the usual over-the-top, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink set of musical pastiches, ranging from approximations of European classical music to African pop. A female vocalist turns up on the early tracks, suggesting that some attempt is being made to compete with fellow Vegas show woman Celine Dion. Tympani thunders, strings swirl, and choruses weigh in, only to be replaced by synthesized drums and dance rhythms. It's portentous and pretentious and all over the map, but all that matters is that it provides a consistently engaging musical background to the goings-on on-stage. Cirque du Soleil's record albums, reported on a press release to have sold "more than 3.5 million copies worldwide," no doubt serve as useful souvenirs to the awed spectators who pony up significant amounts of cash to be dazzled by the stage shows. In strictly musical terms, however, their value is negligible.

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