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Tense, dramatic music from Morricone
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Rai Trade; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
Giovanni Falcone was an Italian magistrate who had the unenviable task of prosecuting members of the mafia in an attempt to break the country's organised crime rings. He was assassinated in 1992. He has been the subject of several film and television programmes, most recently this miniseries made for Italian television, scored by the ever-hardworking Ennio Morricone. Another Morricone score for a 2006 thriller, La Sconosciuta, was my personal pick for the best film score of the year, and this was written shortly beforehand.
The album opens in a most surprising way, with the melancholy love theme "Francesca e Giovanni", an old-fashioned piece which could easily have been written by the composer twenty or thirty years earlier; it's attractive and moving in its way. The first real piece of suspense music, "Pietas", is also surprisingly melodic; however, it is not long before Morricone turns his hand to the more expected sound of nailbiting suspense, with the anguished strings of "Spie" being particularly effective, the choppy violins in particular. It's challenging music, but very interesting, and certainly not at the interminable end of the Morricone suspense spectrum.
Morricone is an old master at this type of thing - his scores for political thrillers like The Battle of Algiers and Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion are the stuff of legend - and a cue such as "Violenza nella Citta" is certainly reminiscent of that style, with the composer's trademark edgy action music laid on with the usual panache. This continues in "Irruzione Notturna", and the composer generally alternates this stylish music with unsettling atonality elsewhere. The biggest reminder of things past comes in "L'Indagato e I Complici", with its driving rhythms and dirge-like accompaniment certainly recalling the composer's efforts in this genre in the 1970s.
This is excellent music throughout, so well-conceived and delivered. However, by design the album does not make a pleasant listening experience for reasonably large parts of its running time. It is easy to admire Morricone's continuing achievement in this field - and I'm sure the composer's fans will join me in getting a lot from this album - but it isn't on the level of his finer scores of recent years, certainly not approaching La Sconosciuta which achieves a similar result through more modernistic means.