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  • queimadaComposed by Ennio Morricone
  • ViVi Musica VCDS 7020/ 1998 / 53:40

Released during the longest and most renowned of Marlon Brando’s “difficult periods”, Queimada (aka Burn!) sees the screen legend playing a Machiavellian character who, on one trip to a Caribbean island (called Queimada) helps the locals form an uprising against their Portuguese rulers; and on the next, works with the Portuguese to crush the rebels.  It’s very hard not to read that and think about the Americans’ relationship with the Taliban in Afghanistan.It’s from director Gillo Pontecorvo, his follow-up to his legendary Battle of Algiers, and of course he teamed up with Ennio Morricone again.  Morricone’s score is boundlessly creative – spiritual choral music, cool electric guitar solos, tribal percussion – only he would manage to pull something like this off.  The opening cue, “Abolicao”, is incredible; all three of those elements I mentioned combining in a truly frenzied, almost shockingly intense piece which sometimes seems to threaten to overload the senses, others seems just frighteningly beautiful.  Only Morricone.

The rest of the score doesn’t maintain that intensity – nobody could survive it if it did.  But Morricone is undoubtedly the most daringly creative composer to have worked regularly in film – he has tried things out nobody else would ever have thought up – and virtually every track here (there are only nine – it’s a very short score) is arresting and vibrant.  “Verso Il Futuro” contrasts what seems to be a bleak choral dirge with an incredibly soulful voice which appears halfway through, a stunning device.  “Jose e Dolores” seems like an almost banal theme when it begins – and yet by the time the short piece ends, the listener has experienced a rare beauty.  The overtly Catholic nature of the chorus in “Osanna” – again, only Morricone.  This score’s a masterpiece.  It’s a short score and this CD is padded out with exceptional pieces from various Morricone western scores – the best kind of padding I can imagine.  An essential part of any Morricone collection.  *****

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  1. Jon (Reply) on Wednesday 7 October, 2009 at 02:06

    I’ll never forget that night at the Royal Albert Hall when Morricone finished his concert with that enormous version of “Abolicao” with Dulce Pontes. Absolutely wonderful.