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Louis Sclavis
Louis Sclavis
Dans La Nuit
ECM


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Le Travail"

Buy me now
Clarinettist Louis Sclavis composed the music on this ECM release to accompany the 1929 Charles Vanel silent film of the same name. Those in the New York area might have seen Sclavis's ensemble perform this music at a screening of the film on March 7th at the French Institute Alliance Française -- but for the rest of use, the soundtrack itself is an enjoyable experience.

Like many soundtracks, Sclavis's score is inherently eclectic in order to better portray the action on the screen. Thus, moody tracks like the CD's opener, "Dia Dia", complete with a fretful cello solo (ably played by Vincent Cortois), only scratch the surface of the musical styles contained herein. "Le Travail" is an effective trope of the minimal ostinati found in many Philip Glass scores, whereas the title track presents us with a rendition of charming Parisian café music. The presence of accordéon player Jean Louis Matinier lends a period air to the proceedings, while François Merville's percussion often reminds one that Sclavis is equally at home in the world of modern concert music: witness the rhythmic complexities and dissonant harmony Merville's marimba is called upon to perform in "Fête Foraine". Sclavis's clarinet-playing, expressive yet clean-toned, is attractive throughout all registers of the instrument. Now, if only the images on the movie screen can match the imaginary scenarios that Sclavis's music evokes in the mind's eye...



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