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 November 3-10, 2003
Tomas Svoboda
A Bearable Lightness
by Duane Harper Grant

Tomas Svoboda (b. 1939) is not a well-known name in the ranks of modern day classical composers. Why this is so poses a discussion of greater scope and length than this profile and review.  But, he is a major and prolific composer of six symphonies and numerous works for chamber orchestra, chamber ensembles of varying instrumentation and choral works. Indeed, his catalogue includes 180 works. This is the first CD in major distribution that features just Svoboda¹s works. For this reason alone it is a standout recording and a great discovery for fans of unjustly neglected new music.

The CD features three excellent compositions for orchestra written at different times in Svoboda¹s career and features James DePreist and the Oregon Symphony performing the works. Svoboda, DePriest and the Oregon Symphony have been long time collaborators and this fact is evident on this recording. The recording opens with Svoboda¹s “Overture of the Season” which over the years has become his most popular and widely played piece. It is an appealing set of off-kilter rhythms, orchestral colors and dare we say, melody. While Svoboda does not carry the title and the cause of the modernist or post modernist school of composition per se, he possibly could be thought of as neo-romantic or neo-classicist.   His favorite composer is Beethoven and he tends to favor melodic and rhythmic expressionist sensibilities. 

Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra is an engaging and intriguing piece of writing for an instrument not often heard in a concerto setting.  Again, you get a dramatic sweep of rhythms, of movement and an interesting and intimate journey into a land of this melodically and harmonically versatile percussion instrument. Neil DePonte, who has been the principal percussionist in Oregon Symphony for many years and does guest conducting as well, is deft and dynamic with all the intricacies of the marimba part.

The third piece is Svoboda¹s Symphony Number 1 (Of Nature), which was first presented in concert when the composer was only 16. Unable to take formal classes in composition during his first years at the conservatory, Svoboda nevertheless composed this amazingly polished 36 minute work at that time. It was premiered by the prestigious FOK Prague Symphony Orchestra, Vaclav Smetacek, conductor. 

Svoboda was born in Paris of Czech parents. He spent his early childhood in Boston, but returned to Czechoslovakia with his parents after the World War II and was admitted to the Prague Conservatory in 1954 at the age of 14 as its youngest student. By the time he graduated, with degrees in percussion, composition and conducting in 1962, he already had numerous performances and radio broadcasts of his music to his credit. This brought him wide national recognition, establishing him as a major talent there, with a place in the formidable legacy of Czech composers.

In 1964, the Svoboda family escaped communist Czechoslovakia and settled in the United States, He entered the University of Southern California as a graduate student where he graduated in 1966 with honors. Svoboda retired in 1998 from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon where he taught composition and music theory for 27 years, You can read his full bio and peruse many, many pages of his music and other writings on his website.

This is a recording worthy of many listenings and one that I find endlessly pleasurable.

Orchestral Works
Composer: Tomas Svoboda
James DePreist  Conductor
Neil DePonte  Marimba
Oregon Symphony Orchestra
Albany Records, CD cat# Troy 604
Advertising and Sponsorship Information
Two Concerts of Chamber Music
By Steven R. Gerber
Generation Media and Jeffrey James Arts Consulting will present two concerts of the chamber music of New York composer Steven R. Gerber on Friday, November 7 and Friday, November 21, 2003 at Faust Harrison Pianos, 205 W. 58th Street, just west of 7th Avenue in New York City. Both concerts will begin at 8:00 PM.

The November 7 concert will feature the World Premiere of Gerber’s Fantasy, Fugue, and Chaconne for 2 celli, as well as his Three Songs Without Words for solo violin, Elegy on the Name "Dmitri Shostakovich" for solo cello, as well as a selection of his songs and works for solo piano. Performers for this concert will include the composer on piano, cellist Arash Amini, violinist Grigory Kalinovsky, with others to be announced.

The November 21 concert will feature another World Premiere - 3 Folksong Transformations for piano trio, along with Notturno for piano trio, Words for Music Perhaps for soprano and 2 violins, 3 Pieces for 2 violins, Fantasy for solo violin, Three Songs Without Words for solo violin Elegy on the Name "Dmitri Shostakovich" for solo cello. Performers for this concert will also include the composer on piano, cellist Arash Amini, violinist Cyrus Beroukhim, with others to be announced.

Tickets for the November 7 and 21 concerts are $15. Reservations are suggested. For tickets, reservations or more information, please contact Generation Media at (917) 217-3584 or info@generation-media.com

Ned Rorem, American Classic "Rorem's works have been criticized, even dismissed, for not being more memorable. More to the point, as much as he seems to occupy the creative moment 100 percent, Rorem doesn't haunt. The music is there and gone, leaving few if any footprints on your brain. As listeners, we're not used to that." Philadelphia Inquirer 10/19/03 

Ligeti At 80 Gyorgy "Ligeti has a unique place in the history of 20th-century music: an avant-gardist who is familiar to a wide public (even if he has Stanley Kubrick's use of his music in 2001 to thank for that popularity), and an uncompromising modernist whose music revels in its connections with other cultures, other art forms, and the music of earlier centuries." The Guardian (UK) 10/17/03 

La Scala Appoints a Referee...Er, "Artistic Director" La Scala has appointed a new artistic director to mediate between music director Riccardo Muti and general manager Carlo Fontana. Muti has fought against what he characterizes as Fontana's attempts to "dumb down" the famous company. "Mr Fontana had been criticised for introducing popular fare such as West Side Story to fill the 2,600 seats of the Arcimboldi theatre, built on the industrial outskirts of Milan to host La Scala's performances while its city-centre premises undergo a £40m refit. Tension between the two men burst into the open in July when Mr Muti snubbed the official presentation of the opera's new season." The Guardian (UK) 10/13/03 

Disney-High Ambitions LA's Disney Hall opens next week. "For all the energy and playfulness of this $274 million piece of civic sculpture, Disney Hall also bears a heavy burden as an instrument of this city's heady ambition. Sixteen years in the making, it represents Los Angeles' determination to shake off its perpetual No. 2 status, to be recognized, along with New York, as an international cultural heavyweight, yet on its own highly theatrical terms." San Francisco Chronicle 10/16/03 

Why Must Music Be Transcendant? Classical music, and opera in particular, is often held up as a beacon of transcendant, other-worldly beauty, in a culture obsessed with speed and reduced to communicating through sound bites. But that perception doesn't often square with reality, says Anne Midgette, and the fact that listeners aren't being transported to a higher realm on an average night at the Met doesn't mean that the music has failed, simply that our expectations are misplaced. "Opera deals in human emotions, not divine and ethereal ones. When singing is sublime, it's partly because it amplifies those emotions with a kind of inner purity." The New York Times 10/19/03

Is Classical Music Racist? The audience for traditional classical music is overwhelmingly caucasian, whether in Europe or North America, and despite paying frequent lip service to the vague concept of "diversity," few practitioners of the art have made any serious attempts to widen the appeal of the genre. So why does classical music receive such a huge percentage of available public arts funding? "This has always been the case, but now that cultural diversity has moved to the top of the funding agenda, it's become a serious political embarrassment. There's something disquieting, in 2003, about the sight of an all-white orchestra playing to an all-white audience." The Telegraph (UK) 10/18/03 

Recordings - The Politics Of Price "As musical recordings have increasingly shed their physical form, the record industry and its customers have been at odds over what it all should cost. Music fans complain of high CD prices and copy more music illicitly than they purchase legally, while the record companies rail against the devaluation of their product and take file-sharers to court. Since legal ways to experience online music are only now becoming widely available, there is no established record of what the market will bear or how these innovations will be received. Will each song purchased online represent the loss of a whole CD sale in the store? Or will customers respond to the ease and selection of e-commerce by buying more, overall?" The New York Times 10/12/03

Detroit's New Digs: Spending Money To Make Money The Detroit Symphony Orchestra could very well have chosen to spend the last few years hiding under a pile of the Motor City's ever-present downtown rubble, and hoping that the financial roof wouldn't fall in. After all, orchestras are in terible shape just about everywhere, and Detroit is hardly a model for the type of forward-looking urban development that orchestras must embrace to make strides in an increasingly diverse entertainment universe. Instead, the DSO took a big, beautiful chance, and invested millions in a newly revitalized concert hall in one of the city's most blighted neighborhoods. No one yet knows if the plan will succeed, but thank God someone is still trying, says William Littler. Toronto Star 10/18/03 

 Last Week's News


Stephen Hartke will receive the next Charles Ives Living award, effective for a three-year term beginning in July 2004.

The $225,000 Ives Living is paid in annual installments of $75,000; its purpose (as with the MacArthur Foundation's famous "genius grant" fellowships) is to free the recipient from the need to worry about earning a living so that he or she can concentrate fully on composition. 

The Charles Ives Living was inaugurated in 1998, with Martin Bresnick as the first three-year recipient. Chen Yi received the award in 2001; her term ends next June. The fellowship is funded by royalties from Charles Ives's music, bequeathed by his widow to the American Academy to establish a fund for prizes in composition. The American Academy administers the award, and nominations are accepted only from Academy members. This year's jury consisted of five American composers: Ezra Laderman, Samuel Adler, John Corigliano, Yehudi Wyner and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

Christopher Theofanidis 
Wins Masterprize 2003
 American composer Christopher Theofanidis is the winner of the 2003 Masterprize Award, the prestiguous  international composing competition. 
His winning composition, Rainbow Body, is based on a  chant from a work by medieval mystic Hildegard von Bingen. 

The competition concluded at a gala event at London’s Barbican Centre last Friday night, at which Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra performed all six finalists’ works. A jury made up of representatives from across the classical music world then cast their votes, as did the members of the LSO and the audience. These votes were added to those received from members of the public over the previous month. Theofanidis receives £25,000. The five runner-up composers each receive £750. 

Theofanidis was born in Dallas in 1967. His studies have included a DMA and MMA from Yale University, an MM from the Eastman School of Music and a BM from the University of Houston. 
He  has held the positions of composer-in-residence for the California Symphony and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. He is also on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins' University and the Juilliard School in New York City. 

His compositions have won numerous previous awards, including the Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Barlow Prize, a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Columbia-Bearns Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship to France, and six ASCAP Morton Gould Prizes. 

His music has been performed by several orchestras, including the Atlanta, Houston, National, Brooklyn, Monte-Carlo, Oregon, Madison, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras and the Oslo Philharmonic. He has also been performed by chamber music ensembles including the Moscow Soloists, Speculum Musicae, the Absolute Ensemble, and SONYC as well as the Cassatt, Alexander, Muir, Henschel and Cuartetto Latinoamericano String Quartets. 

Current projects include a viola concerto for Kim Kashkashian and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, a ballet for the American Ballet Theatre, and an opera for the Moores School of Music. 

For more information about the finalists, their works,  the competition, and to hear Theofanidos' winning entry visit the Masterprize web site.

Rainbow Body
Composer: Christopher Theofanidis, Samuel Barber, et al.
Conductor: Robert Spano
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Previous Interviews/Profiles
Simon Rattle, Michael Gordon,Benjamin Lees, Scott Lindroth, David Felder, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Erkki-Sven Tüür,John Luther Adams, Brett Dean, Judith Lang Zaimont, Meyer Kupferman, Evan Chambers, Poul Ruders, Steven R. Gerber, Gloria Coates, Tobias Picker

Previous Articles/
Busoni The Visionary
The Composer of the Moment:  Mark-Anthony Turnage
Electronic Music
Voices: Henze at 75
Henze Meets Emenim
On Finding Kurtag
Charles Ruggles:  When Men Were Men
Ballet Mécanique
The Adams Chronicles

What's Recent
An Interview with Tobias Picker
Handmaid Tale's Debuts in English
Rautavaara Joins B&G 
Who's Afraid of Julia Wolfe
Derek Bermel's Soul Garden
 The Pianist: The Extraordinary 
True Story of Wladyslaw Szpilman
John Adams' Atomic Opera
A Bridge Not Far Enough
Turnage Signs With B&H
Sophie's Wrong Choice
Copland's Mexico
On Being Arvo
Rzewski Plays Rzewski
Praising Lee Hyla
David Lang's Passing Measures
Three Tales at BAM
Naxos at 15
On the Transmigration of Souls
Dead Man Walking
David Krakauer's The Year After
Steve Reich/Alan Pierson
Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for our Editor's Pick's of the month.  Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, NY, NY 10019 
Our writers welcome your comments on their pieces.  Send your witty bon mots to jbowles@sequenza21.com and we might even publish some of them here.  And, don't forget--if you'd like to write for Sequenza21 (understanding that we have no money to pay you), send me a note. JB

             THIS WEEK'S PICKS 

 Quattrains, My Ends are My Beginnings
Composer: Milton Babbitt
Conductor: Tony Arnold
Performer: Jeffrey Milarsky, Charles Neidich, et al.,  Cygnus Ensemble

Another remarkable gift from Bridge Records, containing  the premiere recordings of five Babbitt works that span a quarter of a century. The CD opens with a performance of Babbitt’s exquisite "Quatrains", sung by the young American soprano, Tony Arnold. Set to a text by a Babbitt favorite–John Hollander–"Quatrains" is a work of great delicacy and subtlety. "My Ends Are My Beginnings" is regarded by many as one of most difficult-to-play works for a solo woodwind instrument. The work’s dedicatee, Allen Blustine (long-time clarinetist for Speculum Musicae), gives a heroic reading of this 17 minute solo. 

World to Come
Composers:  David Lang, Osvaldo Golijov, etc.
Performer(s): Maya Beiser
Koch Int'l Classics 

As a performer and promoter of new music, Maya Beiser is  peerless--a terrific  example of how to package the work of "difficult" composers in a kind of  modern hipness without compromising the music or the performance.  Here, Beiser's taste and musicality are flawless, a short but brilliant piece by Osvaldo Golijov, familiar works by the always popular Arvo Part and John Tavener, and the centerpiece, a long and  moving meditation on 9/11 by David Lang, whose work continues to marvel as it matures and grows in stature. 


13 Themes for a Triskaidekaphobic
The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet
pfMENTUM 2003

Jeff Kaiser's CDs always create a moral dilemma for me because they come packaged in such beautiful, Japanese-style, wrappings that I am reluctant to untie the string to get to the CD itself.  Once you get past that point, however, you discover that the music is fresh and inventive and not easily categorized.  Is it jazz, with a classical touch?  Or classical, with a touch of jazz?  Doesn't really matter, it's highly original and the packaging is second to nobody.


Various Composers

The CD reissue of a noted series of seven 10-inch vinyl eps that Cold Blue released in the early 1980s. Extraordinary music from composers Peter Garland, Rick Cox, Barney Childs, Read Miller, Michael Jon Fink, Daniel Lentz, and Chas Smith. Music for violins and percussion, electric guitar, eletronic keyboards with voices, solo and duo pianos, cello, pedal steel guitar, wind instruments of pre-Columbian design, readers, and more--all precursors of a certain genre  of "California ambiance."  Highly recommended.

String Quartets 1 & 3
Composer:  Frank Bridge
Performers:. Maggini String Quartet

Frank Bridge is a bit of a lost horse in the English stable of composers that includes such giants as Elgar, Vaughan Williams and, his student, Benjamin Britten.  But he shouldn't be. No. 1, written in 1901, is a mature, fully realized work; No. 3, composed in 1927 is one of the pilars of 20th century chamber music.  As always, the Maggini play magnificiently and the recording is first rate.

Le Villi
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Conductor: Marco Guidarini
Performer: Melanie Diener, Ludovic Tezier, et al. Radio France Chorus, French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

Just listening to young Puccini's first opera (as opposed to seeing it staged and sung), you notice immediately that the big sweeping melodies, the ingenious "hooks" are already there. Naive has also issued a Radio France recording of Puccini’s second opera, Edgar, written five years after Le Villi.   In this more ambitious and complicated work, Puccini develops his technique using a score that merges stirring arias and ensembles. 

Emerson Concerto / Symphony 1
Composer:  Charles Ives
Performers:  Alan Feinberg (piano), National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, James Sinclair (conductor)

Ives sketched the Emerson Concerto in 1907 but never fully finished it, although he used portions in other works.  David G. Porter, a noted Ives scholar, was  able to create a performing version which was premiered in 1998 by Alan Feinberg, the pianist on this premiere recording.  The piece is extremely demanding, often abrasive, and demands exceptional  virtuosity.  Symphony No. 1 is fetching, but not as charateristic, of the great American maverick that followed.

Piano Concertos 2 & 3
Composer: Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performers: Laura Mikkola (piano), Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, Eri Klas (conductor)

The Finnish composer Rautavaara has enjoyed enormous success in recent years with his unique blend of northern lights impressionism and romanticism  served up in an aura of modernity. His Cantus Articus is immensely popular, conjuring up associations of Messiean, although the latter is a much more important composer.   The Third Piano Concerto from 1998 is forceful, drawings on  the Russian school of pianism, although it not technically flashy until the finale.  The Second, composed nine years earlier, is more traditional and  Laura Mikkola, already on disc with a highly regarded account of the First Concerto, again provides an outstanding performance.

Composers: King, Kline, Reynolds, Ziporen
Performers:  Ethel

New York's most daring string-quartet sensation, Ethel, makes its debut here with a menu of the kind of hard-edged downtown music that has won the group a big following in the NY new music scene.   Todd Reynolds and Mary Rowell, violins; Ralph Farris, viola; and Dorothy Lawson, cello—all began their careers in New York as freelance musicians, playing difficult music that relies heavily on non-classical sources but requires a virtuoso classical ensemble to play. Its repertoire ranges from John King's energetic blues transcriptions to  the gnarly quartets  of Julia Wolfe and on Todd Reynolds' quirky 
musical postcards.  Adventuresome and fun for the advanced music listener.

Return from a Journey
Composers:  Gurdjieff, De Hartmann,
Performer:  Kremski

Gurdjieff was a Russian Aremenian spiritual master who, in addition to the main body of his teaching created sacred dances, or Movements, as well as  200 or so musical compositions--all of which were were done  in collaboration with German composer Thomas de Hartmann at Gurdjieff's  Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, near Paris,  in the years 1925–27.  For many years, the pieces heard here were played only by De Hartmann or another of Gurdjieff's disciples but in recent years they have attracted the interest of a number of adventuresome pianists.  Kremski plays these exotic, vaguely oriental and oddly thematic pieces with great respect and warmth.

Chichester Psalms
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Performers:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Marin Alsop (conductor)

Commissioned in 1965 by the Dean of Chichester, Bernstein’s colorful Chichester Psalms is one of the composer’s most successful and accessible works on religious texts, contrasting spiritual austerity with impulsive rhythms in a contemplation of peace. The composer fashioned his Oscar nominated score to the 1954 movie On the Waterfront into a symphonic suite, skillfully capturing the oppression of the New York dockyards in the ’50s. The Three Dance Episodes were extracted from the popular On The Town, Bernstein's first successful foray into musical theatre.  Bernstein protege Marin Alsop gets a robust performance from Bournemouth orchestra and chorus.

Double Concerto
Composer:  Witold Lutoslawski
Performers:  Polish National Radio Symphony, Antoni Wit

Volume 8 in Naxos' indispensible survey of Lutoslawski's orchestra work brings us into lesser known territory but there are still treasures to be found.   The  Dance Preludes from 1955 is basically a five-movement clarinet concerto, with lots of  interesting harmonies and rhythmic twists and turns. The Double Concerto for oboe and harp from 1990 rattles the ear a bit and has a  demanding oboe part, beautifully  played by Arkadiusz Krupa. The Children's Songs, gorgeously sung by the soprano, Urszula Kryger, are beguiling. 

Doña Francisquita
Composer: Amadeo Vives 
Performers: Maria Bayo,
Alfredo Kraus, Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife, Antoni Ros Marba

A superb performance of Amadeo Vives' zarzuela masterpiece, sung with enormous vivacity and brio by the ravishing-voiced Maria Bayo and the sturdy Alfredo Kraus.  With its nineteenth century Madrid setting, its roots in classical Spanish drama  and its festive nocturnal amours, Doña Francisquita provides  a retrospective on the romantic zarzuela tradition and its crowning glory. The work was immediately recognized not only as Vives’ masterpiece, but as the greatest full length zarzuela of its era. If you're not into zarzuela already, this is the perfect place to start your  collection.

Symphony 9 Visionaria
Composer:  Kurt Atterberg
Satu Vihavainen (mezzo-soprano); Gabriel Suovanen (baritone)
NDR Choir, Prague Chamber Choir
NDR Radio Philharmonic, 
Ari Rasilainen

The 9th and final symphony of Swedish composer Kurt Atterberg bears a superficial relationshp to Beethoven's 9th with its big, expresssive choral sound but Atterburg's world is a good deal less joyous.  Atterberg's choice of texts reflects the lasting impact on his psyche made by World War II and the Korean War. The Poetic Edda, an Icelandic epic dating from around 1270, relates the visions of a wise prophetess (hence the Symphony's title "Sinfonia Visionaria") who foretells the creation of the world, the warring among gods, giants, and humans, the world's destruction, and finally its recreation. 

Atterberg uses mezzo-soprano and baritone soloists with chorus and large orchestra, as  well as a quasi-oratorio form, to tell his epic tale. This is extraordinary symphony by a composer who is far too little-known in the musical world.

The Complete Mazurkas
Composer: Karol Szymanowski
Performer: Marc-Andre Hamelin

Marc-Andre Hamelin continues his extraordinary journey through the forgotten rivers and bayous of the modern piano repetoire with masterful performances  of Szymanowski's Twenty Mazurkas, Op. 50, composed between 1926 and 1931.  After assimilating the influence of Stravinsky, Szymanowski began looking for folk themes in Polish music to rival the Russian folk touches of the master. The Mazurka,  a traditional Polish dance in three-quarter-time with an often erratic-seeming emphasis on the second beat, (and a favorite form for Chopin) offered great possibilities . 

These highly diverse pieces are more complex  than Chopin, more modern and dissonant, yet also more muted and elusive.  Still,  Szymanowski remained too much a romantic to settle for anything less then flamboyant virtuosity--a quality that Hamelin possses by the truckload. 

Composers:  Transciptions:
Bach, Barber, Berg, Chopin, Debussy, Mahler, Ravel, Wolf
Peformers: : Choeur De Chambre Accentus, Equilbey

Worth having for the ravishing performances of Samuel Barber's "Adagio" and Mahler's "Adagietto from Symphony No. 5." 

Symphony No. 6
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Performer: London Symphony Orchestra; Mariss Jansons
Label: LSO Live 

It is rare that you find a recording that you need listen to for only a minute to know a masterpiece is unfolding before your very ears.  This stunning live performance of Mahler's "Tragic" symphony is one of the rare ones,  From the first rhythmic thumps of the long and  stately funeral march to the final faded chords, Mariss Jansons draws a passionate and committed performance from the LSO.  Certain to be among the best of the year noninees. 

Wheel of Emptiness
Composer: Jonathan Harvey
Performers:  Actus
Cyprès CYP5604

English composer Jonathan Harvey is one of those modernists whose work is more frequently talked about then played.  This rare recording contains five representative works ranging from the lyrical to the raw, built on  instrumentations ranging from electroacoustical to the  traditional.  An excellent introduction to an unjustly neglected maverick. 

Piano Etudes 1
Composer: Philip Glass
Performer: Philip Glass 
Orange Mountain 

Glass says he wrote these "studies" as fodder for his own concert performances and as a way of challenging himself as a pianist.  But, they are much more important than that.  They provide a real insight into how Glass composes and, although billed as sketches,  sometimes are more rewarding to the ear and intellect than many of Glass's larger-scale works.  Essential recording for the Glassologist.

Music from the Thin Blue Line
Composer:  Philip Glass
Orange Mountain

 Glass's hypnotic score for  Errol Morris’ extraordinary 1988 documentary film entitled "The Thin Blue Line". Nonesuch Records released a CD of the film’s soundtrack that included the narration and interviews from the film but this  Orange Mountain release contains  the original score without the voice-over.  The music is dark and brooding, full of tension appropriately for such a chilling film, and it stands well on its own. 

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