Cirque du Soleil
Stater Rating (out of four stars): ***
The music and voices in this album make my imagination run wild with visions of the Twins’ adventures. This music captures the drama and energy of a live circus production, and without the cheesy synthesizers that can make a clown cringe. I strongly recommend this soundtrack to anyone who likes strong vocals, percussion and flute, or to anyone looking for an unexpected classical treat the next time he/she goes to the music store.
The Royal Barge carries the twins to a celebration as they play on the deck. The Twins display their musical ability with a light-hearted duet on flute.
Track 1: I enjoy how the melody is sweetly introduced by a flute over powerful percussion. This song becomes even more attractive with the introduction of an African-flavored female voice, which reoccurs throughout the album reminding me over and over of the Twins’ life before they were separated.
The Twins are entertained by the court with martial arts demonstrations of strength and agility, including Wushu, Chinese Opera, and Brazilian Capoeira.
Track 2: Opening with horns, this song quickly picks up the pace. It’s accompanied by so many things, including an accordion (I think), that I can envision the court’s agility, speed and cohesion.
Just beyond their peaceful kingdom, imminent danger lurks as Archers and Spearmen prepare to attack.
Track 3: The guitar in the background expresses the peaceful and ominous feelings of this scene.
To escape the Archers and Spearmen, the Nursemaid drags Twin Sister onto a boat and they escape by sea, only to encounter a massive storm that capsizes their vessel.
Track 4: This song really gets into the meaty part of the album. The heavy bass and chanting male voices give this song an agitated energy.
The Nursemaid falls into the depths of the rough sea followed by Twin Sister who plunges to rescue her.
Track 5: This song’s warm strings give an all-encompassing feeling of desperation as if you’re being swallowed in an ocean’s suffocating waters.
The Shadow Play
Twin Brother is guided away from the original danger by the Court Jester, who distracts the frightened boy by teaching him the art of shadow puppets.
Track 6: A classic orchestra piece featuring all of the strings, woodwinds and brass. This song is innocent and short, just like the stories you can tell with shadow puppets.
Following the boat’s sinking, Twin Sister and Nursemaid are reunited on a golden sandy beach. They must climb a steep cliff with the Archers and Spearmen chasing them.
Track 7: This song is definitely my favorite on the album. It is a six-minute chase sequence that keeps building up by overlapping itself. Beginning with a simple rhythm and chant, this song turns into a chaotic sprint to the finish line as more and more horn bursts, percussion and female voices are layered on.
Twin Sister is rescued by a Mountain Tribe, who also discovers the Nursemaid wandering aimlessly, and reunites the two.
Track 8: This song sounds like it belongs on a television show, and doesn’t fit this scene at all. It’s too lovey-dovey and reminiscent of the previous songs – How many times can the Nursemaid and Twin Sister be reunited? I want to hear something new.
Under the threat of attack by the Archers and Spearmen, the Mountain Tribe transforms their tent dwelling into a man-powered flying machine and escape with Twin Sister. The flight circles over the audience before descending into the abyss.
Track 9: This is another song featuring a full orchestra, and I am back to enjoying the album. A soaring female voice, which doesn’t sing words but rather notes, gives the perfect allusion of a flying machine. After only two minutes, the orchestra’s sound deepens and then quietly fades away.
Twin Brother in Captivity
The Twin Brother, who was ultimately captured by the Spearmen, is imprisoned. Just as things seem hopeless, he discovers a friend in the Chief Archer’s Daughter.
Track 10: We’re once again in a threatening situation. Samples of an orchestra tuning add more pressure and tension.
The Slave Cage
The Twins are joyously reunited at last. The prisoners overtake their evil captors as the Wheel of Death takes center stage.
Track 11: “Love Dance” is the perfect celebration of the twins’ reunion. With precise dynamics, noble strings, cymbal crashes and operatic vocals, this song would be flawless if it wasn’t for the end. Fading helplessly away into a solo cello, we are introduced to the Wheel of Death.
The Battle Begins
In the culmination of their extraordinary journeys, the Twins are joined by the Firefly Boy and the Forest People for the final battle against the evil Archers and Spearmen.
Track 12: This song returns you to the feeling of the storm. I would bet money on an action film picking this up for its trailer.
Triumphant in battle, harmony is restored to the empire. Being blinded in the battle has allowed the Counselor’s Son to see the error of his ways. His gift to the kingdom is a spectacular presentation of fireworks to illuminate and unite in peace.
Track 13: After the bloodshed, this song is calming and serene.
Track 14: The signature song is transformed into the first English song on the album. “If I Could Reach Your Heart” is rather nauseating, and I wish the album ended without this song.
Contact ALL correspondent Erica Crist at [email protected]