Home > Reviews > YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH – Osvaldo Golijov


December 14, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An unusual and highly personal drama from director Francis Ford Coppola, Youth Without Youth is based on the novella by Romanian author Mircea Eliade, and stars Tim Roth as 70-year-old linguist and philosopher Dominic Matei who, dismayed by the onset of World War 2 and unable to finish his life’s work, contemplates suicide. However, after Matei is struck by lightning, he wakes up to discover that he has miraculously made a full recovery, has been rejuvenated with the body of a 35-year-old man, and can store limitless amounts of information in his brain simply by passing his hand over a book… a phenomenon that quickly becomes famous within the scientific community, and which sends the Gestapo and Hitler’s top scientists in his direction.

With such an idiosyncratic and ‘arty’ film, it is perhaps no surprise that Coppola turned to Argentine composer, and darling of the classical set, Osvaldo Golijov for the score. It almost pains me to say it, because it makes me sound like a philistine, but the score for Youth Without Youth bored me. Despite being performed by the Bucharest Metropolitan Orchestra, and despite it featuring some expressive cimbalom, accordion and kamancheh Persian violin solos, and despite the main theme (“Youth Without Youth”, “Malta”) being rather beautiful, a lot of the score left me completely cold.

It is at times scratchy, overly-processed and grating; cues like “Dominic’s Nightmare”, “Dr. Rudolf’s Suicide” and “Rupini’s Cave” are at times nothing short of irritating (although clearly intentionally so). Similarly, the rambunctious gypsy-flavored music in cues like “Refugee” is authentic, but somehow never quite seems to gel as part of a cohesive overall score style. However, on the other hand, cues like “Love Lost: Laura”, the gorgeous “Laura Reborn” are at times quite lovely in a soothing, dream-like, abstract kind of way – but there are just not enough moments like these to make the album recommendable.

It’s frustrating, because I know I should like this music, and I should be celebrating the fact that a respected classical composer like Golijov is embracing film; but somehow the whole experience just passed me by.

Rating: **

Track Listing:

  • Youth Without Youth (2:44)
  • Dominic’s Nightmare (1:25)
  • Love Lost: Laura (6:14)
  • Refugee (4:19)
  • Time (2:48)
  • Dr. Rudolf’s Dream (2:50)
  • Powers (2:14)
  • O Alba Tigareta Parfumata (performed by Nello Manzatti) (2:53)
  • The Girl in Room 6 (1:44)
  • Dr. Rudolf’s Suicide (3:41)
  • Laura Reborn (4:04)
  • Journey to India (2:01)
  • Rupini’s Cave (2:03)
  • Malta (1:52)
  • Veronica’s Nightmare (2:18)
  • Farewell (3:03)
  • Love Lost: Veronica (2:41)
  • Death of the Double (2:07)
  • Noapte Buna Mimi (performed by Ion Vasilescu) (2:53)
  • Last Walk to Café Select (2:07)
  • The Third Rose (3:57)

Running Time: 59 minutes 58 seconds

Deutsche Grammophon 477 660-3 (2007)

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