Thursday, September 19, 2013

add 0427 Goran

Bosnian composer Goran Bregovic is fairly familiar even to a broad swath of Western audiences that do not know his name: his high-energy, rather anarchic music was featured in the film Borat, and he provided the zany quasi-Romani soundtracks for the films of Bosnian Serb director Emir Kusturica. In the 2000s decade he composed several more extended works that are "classical" only their greater length and reconciliation of a diversity of elements -- the basic sound of Bregovic's music continues to be characterized by blaring brass bands playing minor-mode gypsy-inspired tunes (Bregovic himself is not of Romani descent). This disc, like others by Bregovic, serves admirably as party music; his brass pieces sustain high energy over unusually long stretches. It's also quite an accomplishment, however, to adapt this language, however loosely, to the story of Bizet's Carmen and to a somewhat dramatic presentation: Karmen...with a Happy End is billed as an opera and is performed as one, although the sequence of events instead brings to mind the freewheeling structure of Kusturica's films and their wandering gypsy troupes. The modeling on Bizet is loose; there are no bullfights but rather a musical duel at the end. Carmen (here Karmen) does indeed start out working in a tobacco factory, and a few minor characters are taken from Bizet, but the story takes a new turn with the appearance of a Rumanian mobster named Ceausescu who forces Karmen into prostitution. Worrying too much about the correspondences with Bizet (there are a few purely musical linkages as well) is not the way to enjoy this score; inviting a large group of friends over to sample Eastern European hard liquor and listen to the disc is better.


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