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Album Review

It's the iris of a camera that Cirque du Soleil has in mind in the title of a show staged at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles (where they hold the Academy Awards) and devoted to the movies. Appropriately, the organization has gone out and hired a prominent film composer to write the show's score, and it's hard to imagine a more complementary one than Danny Elfman, who is known for his zany, manic work for the visually imaginative and somewhat arch director Tim Burton. Given the Hollywood theme, it's no surprise that this is one of the less exotic scores done for a Cirque presentation; Elfman does lean toward the exotic slightly on "Snake Women," in a nod to cinema's more adventurous aspects, but this is far from world music. The show has a "history of the movies" theme that allows the composer to provide his versions of the kind of Keystone Kops comedy of the early silents, notably in the fast-paced "Kinki Film" cue. Elfman also dips into the big-band swing style of braying horns and pounding percussion here and there, including in "Buster's Big Opening" and "Movie Studio." But both of those cues are extended suites that feature several different sections so that, just as in a film score, Elfman is accompanying quickly changing visual action. Late in the show, the story has moved on into the 1930s and ‘40s with "Film Noir/Pursuit," and the music has mysterious and late-night jazzy elements, followed by "Rooftops," which provides identifiable chase rhythms. This is thus an unusual score for Cirque as the organization continues to expand its horizons and partner with established artists, blending its identity and providing a new outlet for a composer who has made his mark in Hollywood and whose music listeners will recognize in this stage extravaganza.

Biography

Formed: Quebec, Canada

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Cirque du Soleil revolutionized the circus arts, transcending the traditional big-top approach of the past to spotlight elaborate sets, lavish costume, and original music. Founded in Quebec in 1984 by Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier, the original group comprised local street performers; shunning animal acts to focus exclusively on human spectacles — stilt-walkers, jugglers, fire-eaters, and the like — the troupe quickly earned a following throughout Canada, eventually spreading across...
Full Bio
Iris, Cirque du Soleil
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