I was looking for Ginastera’s Hieremiae Prophetae Lamentationes, which was completely new for me; but this is by no means the only work worthwhile on this album. The record is full of surprises.
These soulful Spanish and Argentinean songs arranged by violist Kim Kashkashian and pianist Robert Levin are well suited to their expressive and expansive playing. Most of the songs, ranging from works by Granados, de Falla, and Montsalvatge to early Ginastera, are written in a late romantic to early modern idiom, and many incorporate a strong folk element. The selections include rowdy, rhythmically charged dance-like songs, tender lullabies, and many flavors of love songs, from the exultant to the despairing. In addition to the better-known composers, Argentineans Carlos Guastavino and Carlos López-Buchardo make extraordinarily fine contributions. The choices of repertoire are excellent; each one of these songs is a jewel, and the ordering of the selections artful, including the surprisingly effective repetition of two songs at different points in the program. The transcriptions are inventive and imaginative, with the vocal lines idiomatically adapted for the viola's expressive capabilities.
Julian Bream was born in London and brought up in a musical environment. His father played jazz guitar and the young Bream was impressed by hearing the playing of Django Reinhardt.
Bream began his lifelong association with the guitar by strumming along on a small gut-string Spanish guitar at a very young age to dance music on the radio. The president of the Philharmonic Society of Guitars, Dr Boris Perott, gave Bream lessons, while Bream's father became the society librarian, giving Bream access to a large collection of rare music.
The sophomore effort from writer and director Greg Pritikin, who previously co-directed and acted in 1998's Totally Confused, Dummy stars Oscar winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist, Summer of Sam) as Steven, a recently unemployed ne'er-do-well who has difficulty expressing himself. Steven's best friend is Fanny, an aspiring singer played by Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Resident Evil) who, along with Steven, is just looking for her niche. Eventually Fanny takes a shine to Yiddish music and Steven finds he has a knack for ventriloquism. Through his newfound talent, Steven discovers that he is able to overcome his social problems through his dummy and decides to try impressing and winning the heart of Lorena, played by Vera Farmiga (Autumn in New York, 15 Minutes). The winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2003 Santa Barbara Film Festival, Dummy also stars Illeana Douglas and Jared Harris.