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El Greco
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • GDM CD Club / 2007 / 50:37

A 1966 film about the famous artist’s life in 16th century Spain, El Greco starred Mel Ferrer in the title role (and he also produced the film).  It was an Italian co-production and the great Ennio Morricone was enlisted to score.
His score opens with one of those magnificent pieces that only Morricone could deliver, the extraordinary “Exultate Deo” with its portentous choral opening before the main theme is presented for orchestra.  The theme is explored further in “Invocazione”, a more subdued presentation which gradually builds up before the choir joins again for the cue’s finale.  A stately, reverential version of the theme follows in “Angoscia e ricerca”.

There’s a change of mood in the slightly darker “Nascondersi”, a more intense feeling of drama emerging.  “Rituale” is a beautiful piece for pipe organ, the composer as ever unafraid to insert overtly liturgical material into his music.  In “Per archi”, the composer whips the strings up into a veritable frenzy, before the choir returns for a trio of gorgeous pieces, the hymnal “Asperges me” and then the return of the opening “Exultate Deo” material in the two-part “Canti”.  Much more darkly dramatic choral writing follows in “Unus et trinus”.  There’s still time for another exceptional variation on the main theme, the beautiful “Follia e amore”.  El Greco is some score – beautiful, powerful, rich and moving.  GDM’s release adds about twenty minutes of music to the original half-hour album but I have to say I prefer the shorter version (but definitely get the GDM for the improved sonics).  An essential purchase for Morricone fans.

Rating: **** 1/2

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  1. James Southall (Reply) on Saturday 12 January, 2013 at 10:54

    Here’s the opening piece: