Latest reviews of new albums:
  • Composed by Andrea Morricone
  • Emergency Music / 2012 / 51:08

Director Giuliano Montaldo has worked on many occasions with legendary composer Ennio Morricone – their more notable collaborations include Machine Gun McCain, Sacco and Vanzetti and Marco Polo – and they were due to continue their working relationship on the director’s latest film, L’Industriale (aka The Entrepeneur).  However, the 84-year-old composer – who has composed nine new scores in the last two years! – had to withdraw from the assignment due to a scheduling conflict, and the reigns were passed on to his son Andrea, who has proved himself to be a very gifted composer himself, especially with his two most notable works, Liberty Heights and L’Inchiesta.

The film is set against the backdrop of the current economic crisis, in which Italy has been hit harder than most, and according to Variety it offers a “critique of capitalism” (and isn’t very good).  Musically, it is certainly good.  Whether by design or not I’m not sure, but the score’s highlights are packed together at the start of the album, when there is a parade of one excellent piece after another.  With a heavy faux-classical sound, it’s extremely dramatic stuff, one track after another presenting a showpiece orchestral theme of passion and power.  It’s a wholly impressive sequence of tracks, full of flair and style.

Andrea Morricone

No less stylish is the second half of the album, though the tone shifts markedly towards suspense.  Morricone introduces a whole host of electronics, and these create an edgy, somewhat gritty sound, but it is always in his orchestral tricks that he most impresses.  Some of these tricks have a clear lineage – the startling string runs of “L’incontro” instantly bring to mind the composer’s father (he used them to famous effect in one of his scores for this director – Marco Polo – and for that matter in plenty of other places).  While at times the music does become somewhat dissonant, listening to it is never unpleasant – on the contrary, it’s wonderful to hear such assured technique.

The suspense is sometimes broken up, which prevents the album from ever running out of steam – there’s the childlike gentleness of “Il dono de Gabriel”, the joyous exuberance of “La festa” – more great melodies for a score which is certainly not short of them.  But they are rare optimistic notes – Morricone painting a fairly gloomy picture through his music, albeit one whose inherent drama (and for that matter tuneful nature) makes for captivating listening.  One of the highlights comes near the end – “La scadenza” opens with an opulent piano solo that sounds like it’s straight from the concert hall, before the main theme plays ever more urgently on strings, electronics join in and at times seem to be struggling to overpower it – it’s cobbled together beautifully, a three-minute showcase of storytelling music.

In keeping with the family tradition, a lot of the themes are repeated without that much variation as the album plays out, but the sheer number of them mean that is never a problem.  Even though it lasts over 50 minutes, so much is going on in the music that the album remains fresh throughout.  If truth be told, none of these themes is as instantly memorable as those provided by Ennio Morricone for this director’s films, but that would be an unfairly high standard to judge something which deserves to be considered on its own merits.  In those terms, this is a very strong album, and Morricone’s uniquely European approach – you’d never hear music so outward in its emotional expression in an American film in 2012 – is very refreshing.  If this website can do any good for the world, it’s to showcase some great music that people might otherwise not hear about – well, here’s some.  Do yourself a favour, give it a go.  ****

Tags: ,

  1. Mastadge (Reply) on Monday 9 April, 2012 at 16:13

    Thanks for the heads-up. A. Morricone had been entirely off my radar. Will check this one out.

  2. Solaris (Reply) on Monday 9 April, 2012 at 21:55

    “had to withdraw from the assignment due to a scheduling conflict,”

    Hm, I wonder what Project is the Maestro is working on. If its a Film-Score then its either “The Best Offer” or (can it be?) “Leningrad”. I’m waiting for years for the latter project to finally go into production.

  3. James Southall (Reply) on Monday 9 April, 2012 at 22:21

    I think it was The Best Offer.