Swiss composer and performer Daniel Schnyder has established careers in the worlds of classical music and jazz, but he has perhaps made the largest impact in the area where the two overlap, and that is the realm this album, Worlds Beyond Faust, inhabits. Its centerpiece is Schnyder's score for Friedrich Murnau's classic 50-minute silent film, Faust, made in 1926. The ensemble Schnyder founded in 1996, Words Within Music, with the composer playing flute and saxophones, with bass trombonist David Taylor and pianist Kenny Drew, Jr., performs the score. Schnyder skillfully draws on jazz traditions, the melodramatic conventions associated with stereotypical music for silent film, extended instrumental techniques, and artfully chosen selections from the classical repertoire, including music by Handel, Weber, Busoni, Liszt, Wagner, Schubert, Mahler, and Richard Strauss. He manages to meld these disparate elements into a soundtrack that sounds like it would be a fabulous accompaniment for the film's visuals, but that is also musically coherent and compelling and satisfying as a purely aural experience. The album is filled with the five-movement suite Worlds Beyond, which is most strongly influenced by jazz. The performances are stellar, with each performer playing with expressive freedom and complete technical assurance, moving effortlessly between Schnyder's flexibly morphing idioms. Col Legno's sound is clear and well defined, with a warm presence. Highly recommended for fans of the sophisticated cross pollination of jazz and classical traditions.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Faust, soundtrack for Murnau's 1926 silent movie|