PHILIP GLASS: Dracula – Musical score for the 1931 classic film, arranged for solo piano & performed by Michael Riesman – Orange Mountain Music

by | Apr 12, 2007 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

PHILIP GLASS: Dracula – Musical score for the 1931 classic film, arranged for solo piano & performed by Michael Riesman – Orange Mountain Music 0033, 66:00 **** (Distr. by Harmonia mundi):

In one of his projects creating a new score for a classic B&W film (another was Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast), Glass wrote new music for live accompaniment by the Kronos Quartet and Glass on piano, to the Todd Browning/Bela Lugosi film.  Riesman – long involved in many of the performances of Glass’ music – especially loved the new score and arranged it for piano solo for this CD.

It is interesting to be reminded that aside from the opening and closing titles Dracula had to music at all, and Glass’ score seems to fit it so perfectly that it begins to sound as if it had always been there. The piece with the Kronos and Glass’ piano was actually a commission from Universal pictures to accompany a re-release of the movie in the late 1990s. There is a wide range of moods and feelings in the score – eery suspense, mystery, excitement, meditative sections – but it is a far cry from the typical silent movie piano accompaniment.  There are 27 short cues here; just reading the list reminds one of the story: “Excellent, Mr. Renfield,” The Three Consorts of Dracula, Lucy’s Bitten, Dr. Van Helsing and Dracula.   The final one is an Epilogue, which functions as a sort of postlude after The End has come up on the screen.

 – John Sunier

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