Earth Recordings continue their laudable mission to establish the Mikael Tariverdiev as one the finest soundtrack composers of the 20th Century.
This album was composed for a 1972 Soviet twelve part television series which tells the story of a James Bond style Soviet spy operating undercover in Nazi Germany. However, unlike the hyperactive Bond, the Soviet version apparently spends more time looking out of windows than crashing through them.
The series was a huge success in Russia where it is still shown regularly but, obviously, Western audiences will not have any visual reference points to go by. Fortunately, this should not diminish the enjoyment of the stand alone music.
The score by the prolific Tariverdiev contributed to the TV show's popularity in the way it evokes "the haunted longings and romantic poignancy" of the storyline.
The album was recorded in 1972 at Gorky Film Studio and has been re-mastered from transfers made from original tapes in Tariverdiev's Moscow apartment.
As the title might suggest, the download and CD versions contain 17, mainly instrumental, pieces including three additional tracks never before released – even in Russia. Tariverdiev plays piano and cimbalon and is accompanied by the Pop Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jury Silantiev.
On the two vocal tracks (Somewhere Far Away and Do Not Think Of The Seconds From The Height) the timbre of the baritone voice has the intensity of Scott Walker so, even if you don't speak Russian, you get that they are tapping into deep emotions. These tracks make you wish there were more actual songs.
Still, the instrumental pieces do their job of conveying a powerful sense of drama. This is exemplified by the haunting minimalism of Couple In A Cafe, the orchestral sweep of Farewell Station and the elegant strains of Waltz For Gaby.
As Tariverdiev scored over 130 movies and was involved in numerous other projects, we can presumably expect more reissues. If the quality is as high as on this one, I say 'bring 'em on'.