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"Salvatore Licitra isn’t exactly Jussi Bjorling yet. As this soundtrack marks his recording debut, that would be next to impossible. But the silken depths of this young tenor’s tone ring with the resonance of a rising star. Fortunately, the three cues featuring music from Bizet’s The Pearl-Fishers are not the duet for which Bjorling is most famous. The inevitable comparison would be unfair. In any case, Licitra brings a profoundly moving quality to his performance of Je Crois Entendre Encore, which would flatter a few of the world’s most seasoned and celebrated tenors.

Licitra also demonstrates his versatility with the exuberant drama of Di Quella Pira from Verdi’s Il Trovatore and the poignant Close Your Eyes from Osvaldo Golijov’s original score. Licitra revels in the dynamic intensity of Verdi, navigating the tempo variations with aplomb, and brings a moving subtlety to Golijov’s composition. The latter performed in Yiddish for cinematic context, as is the final cue of Je Crois Entendre Encore.

There are four cues featured here from Golijov’s score, and he has also arranged most of the standard repertoire selections. If it was daunting to compose original music that was to be surrounded by the classics, it isn’t evident. Golijov’s compositions have a fluid romanticism that is instantly moving, and also profound enough to leave a lasting impression.

Some impressive instrumental virtuosity has been exploited to interpret all this grand music. The tight and delicately edgy tone of the Kronos quartet is put to far better use here, for mine, than in Darren Aronofsky’s overrated Requiem For A Dream score. A number of cues also feature the prodigious piano skills of sisters Katia and Marielle Labeque. Beautiful, brilliant and featured on Australian television recently in the Billy Joel-hosted “Baby Grand” special, there is one mystery about these thinking-man’s pinup girls—beyond their technical mastery and musical sensitivity. How do they sometimes manage to perform side-by-side at the same keyboard without those rivers of tousled hair becoming entwined like a Gordian knot?

Contrasting the majestic grandeur of music in the Western-tradition are cues by Taraf De Haidouks—a group of Gypsy musicians from Romania. Their full-throttle virtuosity is in the great earthy tradition of the finest folk music. We are more regularly exposed to an analogous, intuitive creativity from the great bluegrass artists. Here, however, instead of blues and pentatonic scales, there are quirks of pitch and phrasing of a deeper history, not entirely familiar, yet surprisingly accessible to Western ears.

I simply can’t recommend this CD too highly. Obviously guaranteed to please the classical music buff, it is also downright entertaining enough to convert Offspring fans to opera enthusiasts.”
Brad Green

Published June 7, 2001

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Je Crois Entendre Encore - Salvatore Licitra
Caeser's Song - Kronos Quartet

TITLE: The Man Who Cried

ID: 399700 086409
Sony Classical

ORIGINAL SCORE: Osvaldo Golijov


ORIGINAL SCORE PERFORMED BY: Kronos Quartet, Fred Frith (guitars), Christopher Laurence (double bass)

FEATURED COMPOSERS: Bizet; Verdi; Gade/May; Henry Purcell; Sapo Perapaskero

FEATURED PERFORMERS: Salvatore Licitra (tenor), Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House; Vasko Vassilev (violin), Pamela Nicholson (piano); Katia Lebeque (piano); Marielle Labeque (piano); Taraf De Haidouks; Iva Bittova (vocals);

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