Mikael Tariverdiev – Film Music

It is something of a dream for many music enthusiasts to discover something special and unknown, and to be able to bring it to a new audience. Last Friday saw the release on Earth Recordings, co-ordinated by Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld, of the first compilation of Mikael Tariverdiev’s film scores available in the west. Coates was apparently sheltering from the cold in a Moscow cafe and became intrigued about the music that was playing. On asking a waitress, he learned it was ‘something from the old times’. The journey that followed led to the release of this 3CD or 3LP retrospective, curated with the assistance of Tariverdiev’s widow, Vera.

Working in the Soviet Union from the 1960s, Tariverdiev scored over 130 films in his lifetime. His was an eclectic style, incorporating classical, folk, pop and jazz elements as well as found sounds and his own gruff vocals, somewhere between Tom Waits and Serge Gainsbourg, but in Russian. This is an evocative record, and although the full two hour plus experience of playing all three discs end to end is quite overwhelming, it does give you the great feeling of having a soundtrack to your day. There is such a wide array of styles here that comparisons are difficult, perhaps some of the piano and accordion music could be compared to Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack work, some of the poppier moments to the 1960s pop of Gainsbourg and Leonard Cohen. This is a fabulous collection, meticulously assembled, and very deserving of investigation.

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