The Iron Curtain made sure Mikael Taraverdiev remained relatively unknown in the west, but from the early 1960s to his death the early 1990s, he was one of the Soviet Union’s most celebrated musicians, composing more than 130 film and TV scores, along with countless other projects. It’s his film music that is the focus of Earth Records’ new three-disc compilation — and it’s a wonderful introduction to the world of Tariverdiev.
I haven’t seen the three films this music was meant to accompany (Goodbye, Boys!, I Am A Tree and Snow Over Leningrad), but that’s not a problem; they conjure up a plethora visuals all on their own, calling to mind the work of other soundtrack masters Nino Rota and Michel Legrand (and occasionally the intricate miniatures Mark Mothersbaugh has created for the films of Wes Anderson). Whether Tariverdiev is coming up with smoky jazz, baroque solo piano pieces or beguiling chamber music, the sounds are always deeply evocative, wistful and pleasingly melancholy. A transportive listening experience, and happily, just the tip of the Tariverdiev iceberg. words / t wilcox