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La Ragion Pura
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • GDM Hillside / 2013 / 49m

A 2001 film directed by Silvano Agosti, La Ragion Pura (known as The Sleeping Wife in English) sees Franco Nero and Eleonora Brigliadori as a married couple falling out of love; but who live out an exciting, erotic fantasy life in their dreams.  The legendary Ennio Morricone hasn’t been as prolific over the last decade or so, but he’s continued to write new music regularly; astonishingly, unforgivably, an increasingly high proportion doesn’t see an album release and this score seemed destined for the same fate until this belated release from GDM Hillside.  The lengthy, complex main theme alternates between a dreamy, floating trumpet solo and a wash of romantic strings, with frequent passionate piano solos; typical of the composer’s work of the time, and highly impressive, though it doesn’t quite have the killer melody like his best.  The theme appears in three identically-named six-minute variants on this album and I’m afraid I’ve yet to notice the difference between them.

The four-minute “Dedicato a Maria” is a more ravishingly romantic take on the fluid section of the theme, with a gorgeous violin solo; “Ritrovata” is a more sombre but still beautiful version.  The more dreamlike part gets its own fleshed-out variation in “Per Arche e Strumenti”, incredibly colourful as the little melody seems to dance around different soloists (trumpet, piano, flute, violin); the playful “Un Violino ed Altri” is a delightful variant, sunny and summery.  Much of the rest of the score is made up of close relatives to one part of the other of the theme.  ”Alla Finestra” is slightly more steamy, slightly less romantic; the dreamy atmosphere is unmistakable, bolstered by the ethereal electronics.  ”Alla Satie” contains tentative romantic steps heard in lovely piano solos.  Something different arrives in the later stages of the album; first “Ricordo d’Infanzia”, with a wordless child vocal (not always entirely in tune!) set against a music box lullaby; “All’Aperto in Campagna” is a charming light pop instrumental; “Tra le Donne di Tutti” a lovely little vignette for concertina and trumpet.  La Ragion Pura is not a Morricone classic by any means, but it makes a very pleasant, very enjoyable album and as such a most welcome release.

Rating: *** 1/2

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  1. Mathias on Saturday 16 November, 2013 at 20:43

    Thank you for your review James! If you listen again I´m sure you will notice the differences between the versions. ;-)

    Mathias

  2. Kalman on Monday 18 November, 2013 at 19:20

    I agree with Mathias, you should give this score some more listens and you will discover the differences. You should give it more listens anyway, because, in reality, this is a 5 star score. At least for me – one of the best of the Maestro, a very pleasant surprise, a frequent guest in my CD player.