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Revolver
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • Dagored / 2000 / 37:10

Sergio Sollima’s 1973 thriller Revolver starred Oliver Reed as a prison officer whose wife is kidnapped, and who has to organise the breakout of a violent criminal in order to get her back.  It’s got quite a cult following, but outside that isn’t especially well known.  Ennio Morricone’s work in the thriller genre is perhaps more of an acquired taste than his westerns or romances, which are of course beloved by so many.  On occasion he has written unbelievably challenging music for the genre, dissonant and as he would say “absolute”, and it can be remarkably impressive but you wouldn’t find me wanting to listen to it in a million years.  Revolver is very different – he takes ideas from that realm, but turns them into a melodic, always-listenable – but still hard-hitting – score (and album).

It actually opens with the very pretty “Un Amico”, a beautiful theme with a pop flavour that certainly sticks in the memory; but the album’s pièce de resistance is what follows, a 13-minute action piece that dazzles with its brilliance.  Angular, jagged horn phrases sit atop a bed of piano, electric guitar, keyboards and drums for incredibly taut, incredibly tense dramatic action music of the highest calibre.  Morricone’s written similar stuff in other scores, but not quite on this scale, I don’t think.  The use of the ever-building repeated figure is minimalism of the highest order.  Things don’t stop there, either – another sweet love theme, “Anna” (with a hint of Mozart) is a treat; a sweet vocal version of “Un Amico” performed in French by Daniel Berretta; the breathtaking Vivaldi-with-a-drumkit “Quasi Un Vivaldi”; a couple of briefer reprises of the action theme; and a pair of brilliantly dynamic pieces of source music, the wonderfully-titled “In Un Bar” and “In Un Altro Bar”.  Revolver is Morricone brilliance – no sweeping themes, no quirky effects – just simple ideas, executed to perfection.  I think it’s his finest thriller score.  *****

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  1. Kalman (Reply) on Monday 6 August, 2012 at 11:48

    It really is a fine score by the Maestro. Un Amico and Quasi un Vivaldi are absolutely wonderful. The 13 minute suspense track is a bit long for me but its shorter version on the album is just fine.