It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard Christine Ott’s magnificent live soundtrack recording for F.W. Murnau and Robert Flaherty’s 1931 film Tabu: A Story of the South Seas, that the original pressing of 175 CDs sold out quickly. Good news: Gizeh Records has scheduled a second pressing for release Nov. 2.
Originally released just seven months after her excellent Only Silence Remains, this latest work is something she performs regularly as a ciné-concert across Europe. The 18 pieces are Ott originals; all but three of them feature her on piano. Torsten Böttcher performs the hang (a vibrating instrument invented in 2000) on “Reri,” “Sorrow/Lover’s Dance” and “Oriental Dance.”
The film has a sad backstory. Murnau died in a car accident at just 42, months before the movie’s release.
Despite the fact that Ott’s soundtrack comes nearly a century after the film, it captures all of the original project’s mystique. Her understated, sparse compositional style is perfectly suited to the project.
Ott’s reputation has been bolstered in recent years by collaborations with Radiohead, Tindersticks and Syd Matters. The re-issue of this disc is no less significant. It is a great work.