I admire Golijov. His opera, "Ainadamar" . . . is a mesmerising meditation on grief, filled with colourful, multi-layered, densely rhythmic music. I loved his "La Pasión Según San Marcos", from 2000, as well . . . He produced beautiful vignettes, with intense localised energy . . .
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Gramophone (London) / 01. February 2008
. . . evocative, effective film music . . . For "Youth without Youth", he has composed emotionally involving and strikingly beautiful music that sets a more consistent stylistic tone. There is little doubt in my mind that it effectively supports the dramatic events in the film . . . This is great stuff. The composer again clearly demonstrates his adaptability and versatility. This should serve him well in the world of film music, "Youth without Youth" is fascinating and worthwhile listening experience when played on its own divorced from the screen images.
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James H. North, Arthur Lintgen,
Fanfare (Tenafly, NJ) / 01. May 2008
Osvaldo Golijov's score ties together the film's most striking elements, including its romantically charged atmosphere, largely Eastern European settings and the pervasive feeling of time suspended . . . There are some unexpected references, too. "Farewell" pays overt homage to Astor Piazzolla's "Milonga del ángel", and its sultry lyricism dovetails neatly with the score's overall mood. Indeed, Golijov is at his most engaging when evoking a wistful nostalgia . . . The performances by the Bucharest Metropolitan Orchestra are superb; the electronically enhanced effects -- like the suggestion of a ticking clock in "Dominic's Nightmare" -- are sewn seamlessly into the music's fabric; and, most impressive of all, the score's varied ingredients coalesce to produce a coherent, satisfyingly bittersweet flavour.
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Gramophone (London) / 01. June 2008
Für einige Überraschung sorgt . . . der Soundtrack zum neuen Film von Francis Ford Coppola . . . Lokalkolorit, spätromantische Emotionalität, psychische Irritation und Entdeckerlust. All das fügt Golijov in seiner Musik ein, deren Rezeptur aus einer betörenden Mischung sinfonischer Orchesterklänge, vokaler Beiträge und "exotischer" Instrumente wie Cimbalom, Kamensche (iranische Geige) und Akkordeon besteht.
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Fono Forum (Euskirchen) / 01. June 2008
Il n'empêche que le compositeur de l'admirable "Ayre" (pour Dawn Upshaw) et des non moins réussies "Ainadamar" et "Oceana" a conçu une partition sensible, où souffle un vent d'Europe Centrale plutôt envoûtant, grâce à un cymbalum, un kamantché et un accordéon fondus dans les cordes de l'Orchestre Métropolitain de Bucarest.
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Classica - Repertoire (Paris) / 01. March 2008
COPPOLA'S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Osvaldo Golijov scores the master's new film
“Making a movie is like asking a question," says Francis Ford Coppola. “And when you finish, the movie itself is the answer." The five-time Oscar®-winner, whose classics include The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, has spent most of the last decade producing independent films through his company American Zoetrope and producing Rubicon wines at his California vineyard. Now 68, but feeling like 18, this doyen of modern American cinema is finally venturing a new project of his own - as director, producer and screenwriter. Youth Without Youth, based on the novella of that name by the Romanian philosopher and religious historian Mircea Eliade, tells the story of 70-year-old linguistics professor Dominic Matei, who is struck by lightning on Easter night in the Bucharest train station but doesn't die; instead he becomes younger and younger.
Coppola's own musical fountain of youth on this project is Osvaldo Golijov, among the most interesting and innovative of contemporary composers, whose works include Ainadamar, Ayre and Oceana. Working closely with the director, Golijov - who, in the words of the New York Times, “does not harness popular music, he liberates it" - has created an intensely dramatic, multi-faceted fusion of Central European gypsy music, his own Argentine and Jewish cantorial traditions, and the soundtrack classics of Bernard Herrmann, preferred composer of Alfred Hitchcock.
“Old age brings 'experience,'" says filmmaking legend Francis Ford Coppola, who was born in 1939 in Detroit and grew up in New York City, “but in the arts fearlessness is a more desirable genie than experience. Fearlessness is cousin to innovation, whereas experience can be the parent of fear." Coppola was inspired by the subject of Youth Without Youth at a point in his life when he himself was feeling old and uninspired because another project, entitled Megalopolis, was still unfinished after years of work. Soon after starting to read Eliade's novella, he suddenly thought: “I can make this into a movie." The story touched Coppola deeply. “Like its leading character," he recalls, “I was tortured by my inability to complete an important work. At 66, I was frustrated. My businesses were thriving but my creative life was unfulfilled."
Under wraps, with modest means and far from Hollywood, he began shooting in October 2005. For 85 days Coppola filmed in Romania with a young, local crew and three internationally famous stars: London-born Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction, Rob Roy) in the leading role, supported by Swiss actor Bruno Ganz (Downfall, Wings of Desire) and Romanian-born German actress Alexandra Maria Lara (Downfall). Golijov had sent him the first musical ideas - sketches recorded on pianos and computers by friends and colleagues. The director and his Oscar®-winning film editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient) later incorporated them into rough-cut scenes and sent these back to Golijov who, in turn, could then finish working out and reworking his music.
“I'm not a movie composer," contends Golijov, notwithstanding his successful score for Sally Potter's 2000 film The Man Who Cried, “and to be working with Francis Ford Coppola is not like experimenting with some young director. He's one of the few masters." But by the time of the intensive recording sessions in an old concert hall with the Bucharest Metropolitan Orchestra, Golijov had been won over to this way of working. “It's so cool to write something at nine in the morning and have it recorded at ten," he decided. “I love this life." For his part, Coppola, who was on hand every day of the recording and for every note of the score - except for a text-messaging break when he received news of the birth of his granddaughter - loved the musical results.
Golijov's score for Youth Without Youth caps a five-year-long collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola. “The movie is gorgeous," the composer enthuses, “because it has so much in it and yet it's not in your face. To me it's in the style of late Romantic music. You have to let yourself into it. It's inviting you in - it's there for you to explore." In a way both subtle and sensational, the 46-year-old Argentine composer has succeeded in creating a self-sufficient and moving score that supports the film and its story without overwhelming them.
“Music is most valuable when it tells the audience how to channel an emotion that the film has already evoked," is how film editor Walter Murch puts it. “And that is exactly what Osvaldo's creation does." At times turning dark and menacing, then again becoming fragile and melancholy, Golijov's score augments the sound of a large orchestra with the melodic voices of a cimbalom (the Hungarian dulcimer), akamâncheh (a spike fiddle from Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia “that can sound like a little bird or a cello") and an accordion used in a most unusual manner. “I was extremely tense at the beginning," Golijov recalls of the sessions. “We had a lot of music to record; the orchestra was young. But as soon as Francis came and said 'I like it,' everything suddenly went much better. With his philosophy of problem-solving, there's always a sense of fresh possibilities."
Their unconventional but audibly successful modus operandi seems to have had the desired regenerative affect on Coppola. He and Golijov have teamed up for a second project. According to a press release, Tetro, a family drama starring Matt Dillon and shot in Argentina, will again make use of the methods, the production style and the budget of Youth Without Youth.