Morgiana/The Cremator


2013 release. Galvanizing its ongoing commitment to the lost music of the Czech New Wave cinema movement from the late 1960s and 1970s, B-Music presents a short series of soundtracks for films by the country's master of the macabre and the nation's first point of call for freakish fairytales and hallucinogenic horror, director Juraj Herz. Regarded as the final film of the Czech New Wave, Juraj Herz's Morgiana (alongside Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders) was made after the Prague Spring during Czech cinema's most scrutinized censorship era, deep in the throes of communism. Lubos Fiser's score for Morgiana visits darker hallucinogenic corners for this tale of two sisters seen through the perspective of giallo- esque "cat's eye" camera work revealing poison-induced hysteria fuelled by sibling rivalry and desperately twisted jealousy. Adopting his mysteriously macabre musical persona, the versatile Fiser interweaves chimes, harps and harpsichord with echoing flutes, lutes and piano, applying his signature orchestral tension and experimental percussion traits in the form of treated pianos, vibra-slaps, tape samples of striking matches and spring reverbs to this oblique heady selection. Drawing similarities with other stark monochrome thrillers, such as Roman Polanski's Repulsion, Herz's comparatively untraveled classic 1969 feature film, The Cremator, also used the apolitical subjects of fantasy and surrealist horror to evade the communist censors overzealous censorship. Herz's macabre depiction of Ladislav Fuks' fictional account of a local crematorium boss whose hallucinogenic obsession with the afterlife is boasted by a beguiling score and theme tune from the country's finest experimental soundtrack composer, Zdeněk Liska. Featuring an ongoing partnership with studio conductor Frantisek Belfín and soprano singer Vlasta Soumarová Mlejnková, Liska puts his radical concrète and resampling techniques to one side in favor of celestial choral and orchestral arrangements; menacing giallo-esque tension and recurring rhythmical motifs of Eastern bells and chimes. From a country and era when isolated soundtrack music remained commercially-unreleased, these two scores have been rescued and remastered, featuring extensive liner notes by Andy Votel and Dan Bird.