Personnel: Renate Knaup (vocals); Daniel Fischelscher (guitars, drums); Al Gromer Khan (sitar); Susan Goetting (oboe); Chris Karrer (saxophone); Florian Fricke (piano).
Of all the Popol Vuh recordings, and of all the soundtracks Florian Fricke composed for Werner Herzog's films, Fitzcarraldo is by far the most atypical. Given that this is a film about an opera house being built in the middle of the South American jungle so Enrico Caruso will come to perform there, it would stand to reason that opera music be used in the soundtrack. And therein lies both the brilliance and difficulty of the score as a recording. Certainly those fans of Krautrock who love Fricke's gorgeously haunting, simple melodies, are not ready for the bombast of tenor god Caruso -- or are they? The manner in which the score is structured is such that these moments from Caruso's performances come across as moving vignettes in and of themselves. When juxtaposed next to Fricke's serial music, they become portals to another time and are episodes that stand in stark contrast to opera music in general. Make no mistake. This is a provocative score and is not for everyone, not even Popol Vuh fans. But for those open-minded enough to accept Fitzcarraldo on its own merits, this is a singular achievement in Fricke's composing, editing, and production career. ~ Thom Jurek