Osvaldo Golijov

Youth Without Youth [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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AllMusic Review by

Osvaldo Golijov's score for Frances Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth demonstrates the composer's ability to transfer his prodigious talent and skill in orchestral, chamber, vocal, choral music, and opera to the medium of film, creating a score that's richly textured and hauntingly atmospheric. The music is recognizably Golijov's, with its blend or juxtaposition or layering of central European and Argentinean folk musics and a full array of contemporary compositional techniques, but it's also recognizably descriptive cinematic music. Several of the tracks have a grand romantic sweep that reveal an aspect of Golijov that he has seldom exposed, but at which he excels. The music involves considerably more electronic manipulation than is typical for the composer, and the effectiveness with which he handles the material ought to be an encouragement to pursue that avenue of expressiveness more in his non-film music. He makes especially intriguing use of the cimbalom and of gypsy-style fiddling to evoke the folk traditions of Mitteleuropa. The Bucharest Metropolitan Orchestra, conducted by Radu Popa, and various unnamed folk musicians perform the composer's complexly textured score with energy and polish, and the recorded sound is immaculate. The CD's short two- or three-minute tracks may take some getting used to for listeners accustomed to hearing the composer's ideas played out on a larger canvas, but the quality of the material should be appealing to fans of Golijov and his distinctive polystylistic aesthetic world.