Mikael Tariverdiev – The Irony Of Fate – Original Score (reissue)


Mikael Tariverdiev – The Irony Of Fate – Original Score (reissue)

If there is comfort to be taken in these increasingly dark geopolitical times, then it’s the knowledge that even against gloomy societal backdrops great culture can still flourish as a rock for humanity to cling to.  The career of Mikael Tariverdiev is perhaps a great totem of letting light into such darkness.  Having fashioned a vast body of subtly subversive and genre-straddling work – both under the radar and hiding-in-plain-sight – during Russia’s authoritarian Soviet era, Tariverdiev’s oeuvre is now posthumously able to provide a Western audience with some solace too, thanks to Earth Recordings and Antique Beat’s archival conjoining.

Following on from last year’s fulsome Film Music anthology, the expert tape-vault-mining continues with this standalone refreshed presentation of Tariverdiev’s cinema score for 1975’s The Irony Of Fate.  Whilst exemplary extracts featured heavily in the aforementioned retrospective showcase, it’s satisfying to hear the soundtrack in its original complete configuration.  Although forged to accompany director Eldar Ryazanov’s quietly rebellious comedy of errors – which according to the sleevenotes from Stephen Coates (The Real Tuesday Weld/Antique Beat) has an equivalent festive TV significance in Russia as It’s A Wonderful Life does in the West the recording has a storyboard of its own that transcends the need to see and know the parent film.  Moreover, whilst there remains a language barrier for those non-Russian speakers amongst us, the balminess which purrs from the gathered male and female guest vocalists, deployed in amidst the collection’s instrumental passages, melts down any linguistic divides.

Eclectic as it is focused; The Irony Of Fate ploughs a lot of divergent furrows without dipping into dilettantism.  Hence, amongst it all you will find ostentatious orchestral suites (“Overture” and “Expectation Of The New Year”); twinkling jazz-scented nocturnal ambience (“Snow Over Leningrad” and “Melody”); accordion-soaked waltzing (“The Third Stroitelnaya Street”), husky spoken-word moments (“Do Not Leave Your Lover”); sparse solo acoustic guitar rumination (“Hope”); Leonard Cohen-marinated-in-vodka ballads (“What’s Happening To Me?” and the sublime “I Asked The Ash Tree”); Joan Baez-in-Moscow-like reflections (“I Like” and “I Asked The Mirror”); and burring polka-flavoured folk (“Aria For Moscow Guest”). Whatever the setting, pretty much all of it exudes a remarkable charm and big-heartedness.

Despite being considerably shorter than Film Music, there is still much here to get deeply immersed into.  More ageless excavated warmth then, from a true past master in his many fields, that is near-perfect for the coldest of times.

Earth Recordings / Antique Beat