Mikael Tariverdiev – Olga Sergeevna (reissue)

Mikael Tariverdiev – Olga Sergeevna (reissue)

With Earth Recordings and Antique Beat having exposed non-Russian audiences to an aural goldmine via 2015’s Film Music anthology and the 2016 reissue of 1975’s The Irony Of Fate soundtrack, Mikael Tariverdiev is rightfully no longer an undiscovered curiosity to those not exposed to his works from behind the once Iron Curtain.  Yet there remains much to explore from his vast canon, as this latest archival release testifies. Once again studiously compiled and annotated by The Real Tuesday Weld’s Stephen Coates, this restored and expanded edition of a score to a surprisingly progressive 1975 Soviet TV film serial, Olga Sergeevna, is another bundle of opulence and intimacy.

Many of the hallmarks that made Film Music and The Irony Of Fate such eclectic ear-openers are to be found inside here too; with a handful of tracks reprised verbatim from the former release in their original context but also echoed stylistically.  Hence, there are lushly ornate symphonic John Barry-looking-out-on-to-the-Baltic panoramas (“Faster Than Sound”, “Olga’s Melody” and “Out Of Shot”); a clutch of forgivably schmaltzy ballads with guest vocalists (“Memory” and “Don’t Disappear”); a loose piano-and-voice lament from the man himself (“Longing For Silence”); woozy wordless cocktail bar ramblings (“Moscow Morning”); sprinklings of twinkling noire ambience (“The Solitude Of The Boat” and “Appearance”); and a striking slew of baroque-jazz-trio improvisation miniatures (“Movement In Tempo Presto”, “Burned Out Nerves”, “Reflection” et al.) that celebrate Tariverdiev as an interlocking ensemble player as much as an astute arranger.

As to be expected, it’s all luxuriantly yet warmly-produced and charmingly-executed stuff, put together with genuine care and affection that fans of Film Music and The Irony Of Fate will recognise and appreciate.  At 27 tracks this extended version of Olga Sergeevna is, however, perhaps just a little too rich to take in one sitting, with variations of similar musical motifs inherent in a cohesive cinematic backdrop also bringing in a certain degree of repetition, so the flip and spin rituals of the double-vinyl edition could actually aide its piecemeal absorption.  Overall though, for Westerners newly-hungry for Mikael Tariverdiev wares not previously encompassed by the Earth/Antique Beat reissue programme this is a necessary life-line, that doesn’t require learning the Cyrillic alphabet to negotiate the lesser-explored corners of Discogs.

Earth Recordings / Antique Beat