Zdeněk Liška (1922 - 1983) composed music for Jan Švankmajer, and for the Czech New Wave, and Malá Morská Vila (The Little Mermaid) is exactly the soundtrack you’d want him to write for a kids’ film, nonbombastic and eerie, with a plaintive sung motif from the mermaid, and a longing motif from the violins, and then strange sounds that keep both of those things from becoming too orthodox: a toylike bird-chirp, or applause clipped weirdly short. A crescendo in “Sunken Dagger” is destabilised by repetition. This is a wonderful album, beautifully remastered. Liška’s widow is rumoured to keep hold of his work and prevent re-releases, so we’re fortunate to have it.
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