It is all too easy to take Gustav Mahler's symphonies and orchestral songs for granted in the 21st century's first decade. More than ever before, concert performances and recordings of these works abound, and at a level of proficiency that reveals the remarkable extent to which musicians worldwide have assimilated the composer's idiom. Given the music's primacy in today's central orchestral repertoire, we forget how the great Mahler advocates of the past had to champion his music in the face of adversity. "Who can bear those monstrous symphonies, those over-blown, out-of-date horrors," asked one leading music critic when the New York Philharmonic launched a Mahler Festival to celebrate the composer's 1960 centenary.
Roy Chen Chih-Lai is a sick rapist/serial killer with a leg fetish, and cuts off his victims' legs as trophies after he's through with them. One day at a bank robbery shootout, he catches police woman Cheng Hsuen on camera, and chooses her to be his next victim. He begins to stalk her and enter her personal life, even waiting for her inside her home. He notices her sister, Kelly, as well (who is also a cop), and her boyfriend, Ken. After he kidnaps and rapes Kelly, Cheng decides to lure the madman by using herself as bait, and bring justice to the situation.
A stunningly sophisticated leap into modern musical textures, I'm Your Man re-establishes Leonard Cohen's mastery. Against a backdrop of keyboards and propulsive rhythms, Cohen surveys the global landscape with a precise, unflinching eye: the opening "First We Take Manhattan" is an ominous fantasy of commercial success bundled in crypto-fascist imagery, while the remarkable "Everybody Knows" is a cynical catalog of the land mines littering the surface of love in the age of AIDS.