Cirque Du Soleil

Cirque Du Soleil Musique, 2005


REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Hey, I like a challenge as much as the next guy. But review the musical soundtrack to a stage production I may or may not ever see, staged by a troupe whose focus has always been on creating stunning visuals? And most of the singing isn't even in English? Waaaah! I want my AC/DC albums back!

Or not. It took me just one spin of this disc to discover that the music was not just interesting, but at times engrossing, to the point where I'll definitely try to catch this show live if I ever get the chance.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The music on Ka -- mostly orchestral, though with extensive vocal work, some solo and some in chorus -- is lush, otherworldly, and often epic. It has multiethnic undercurrents, in places featuring African rhythms and interesting percussion effects, but also displays quite a bit of variety, with the common element being a striking elegance and simplicity, choices that make the overall effect that much more dramatic and compelling. The album benefits from the talents of 57 musicians and a choir of 40 background vocalists, led by principal composer and arranger Rene Dupéré.

It's easy to imagine action happening all over the stage behind surging, urgent numbers like "Pageant," "Storm," the steadily-accelerating "Pursuit" and the soaring "Forest." Quieter, more contemplative numbers like "Deep" and "Shadowplay" inspire visions of towers of carefully balanced figures contorting in imaginative ways.

A few tracks have an almost Broadway-musical feel to them; you sense that essential story points are being enacted during the ominous-sounding "Pursuit" and the string-heavy, billowing "Love Dance." Even the dangerously Celine Dion-ish final ballad "If I Could Reach Your Heart" -- sung in English -- is capably executed, with strong harmonies and chants giving it the fullness and texture it needs to escape blandness.

There is, it must be said, a certain sense of what I can only dub "over-the-top-ness" about this music. It's often epic in scale, yes, but sometimes ranges beyond epic into the realm of melodrama, wringing every last potential drop of emotion out of the musical moment. What made it work for this reviewer was imagining the exotic, dramatic stage action that this music is meant to underscore. In that context, it seems it could be quite effective.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Cirque Du Soleil Musique, and is used for informational purposes only.