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 Posted:   Jan 6, 2011 - 5:48 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

BURN!
Queimada!
Revolutionary Morricone #9

This series is inspired by a controversy thread where someone posited the idea that besides THE MISSION and some Sergio Leone westerns Ennio Morricone hasn't written anything great. Rather than making my usual comment that most of Morricone's great scores are from Italy and trying to get Americans to listen to them is like getting them to see movies with subtitles, I decided to take another tact. Since I am at an age where I will only be able to make my case a finite number of times I decided to turn this into a series presenting each great score one at a time, sort of like recordman.

Whenever Morricone has a concert with a chorus he will always play 1) THE MISSION and 2) Abolição from BURN! It was a major hit at the Radio City Music Hall concert. This film was a follow-up to Gillo Pontecorvo's incredibly successful BATTLE OF ALGIERS. This was not as successful but with footage restored it has grown a cult following. On the Larry King show when Marlon Brando was cornered about one role or film he had personal pride in, this was the only one he named. It also helped that this was one of the few foreign soundtracks that got an American LP release when it came out.
The story revolves around William Walker who is hired by British sugar interests to overthrow the Portugese government in Queimada, an island in the lower Antilles. He picks a slave to become the leader of the revolt. Once the revolution is a success he leaves only to return years later to fight the very man he put in power.

The main choral idea is simple but powerful then the clip jumps to the middle and finale for key moments to the film and score:





As you can hear from the music after the titles the whole score has a delicious ethnic feel. It remains one of his most popular. Incidentally Gillo Pontecorvo was another director who, after working with him once (BATTLE OF ALGIERS) would not work without Morricone for the rest of his career. Gillo won the Donatello (Italian Oscar) for best director for this film.



#1 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74811&forumID=1&archive=0
#2 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74838&forumID=1&archive=0
#3 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74871&forumID=1&archive=0
#4 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74899&forumID=1&archive=0
#5 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74951&forumID=1&archive=0
#6 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=74968&forumID=1&archive=0
#7 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75041&forumID=1&archive=0
#8 http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75065&forumID=1&archive=0

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2011 - 11:46 PM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)

Up and down here we go again your on fire again Henry this one is hot I love it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2011 - 11:57 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I saw "Burn!" about five years ago at the American Film Institute. I don't recall whether the AFI showed the longer 132 minute version or the 112 minute U.S. theatrical release version. You'd think I'd remember, since the longer version is in Italian only, with English subtitles. But I can't recall whether I heard Brando's voice or whether he was dubbed. Only the shorter English version is on the U.S. DVD. I do remember liking Morricone's score, which has spaghetti western elements in it. The film is set on the Caribbean island of Queimada, and was filmed in Columbia and Morocco.





 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 12:19 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Another EM scored film I have not seen ... and, this time, a score which I've never grown to like. The single piece used in concerts is good but this is because it is one piece. On the score (I had the GDM release) I found it far too repetitive.

I'm afraid this score sits well towards the bottom end of my EM favouites. As with other works, by EM and others, maybe it would help if I saw the film. But there are plenty of scores I enjoy without having seen the films.

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 12:56 AM   
 By:   Urs Lesse   (Member)

A grand piece that always brings down the house in Morricone's concerts and won me over the very first time I heard it in Ghent in 2000. In my opinion, its best performance can be found on the "Ennio Morricone at Santa Cecilia" CD from 1999. However, regarding the full (GDM) score album, I share MusicMad's view, it's tough to get through.

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 2:36 AM   
 By:   plindboe   (Member)

I'm probably the biggest Morricone nut on the planet, but this score has never appealed to me, and neither has that "Abolição" piece. He made a very similar choral piece for "Moses the lawgiver" called "Israel" which I think is way catchier and grander.

Peter smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 6:53 AM   
 By:   cushinglee   (Member)

Ennio and crew sure slapped the funk on it at Radio City, that's all I know.

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 8:09 AM   
 By:   Zambra Alex   (Member)

I love almost every score by Morricone; yet Burn does nothing for me.
Find it really annoying.
Thanks for posting this one.
Alex

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 8:52 AM   
 By:   mikael488   (Member)

I'm also a huge fan of Morricone but I'm of a different opinion than the last poster(s) - I simply love this score.

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 9:21 AM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)

Not to many fans for this one so far, I own the GDM disc always enjoyed listening to the whole thing,have not listened to this one in a long time though,and my taste has greatly shifted not sure how I'd rate it now.
Connected with this one a number of years ago and loved it,funny how your taste can change over time.Guess it happens all the time with general music never much thought about it before with scores until more recently.Will need to give this another spin soon to see how I feel about it now.

Seems as if you can have a lasting memory of something you have connected with and loved whether you still feel the same or not about it,usually I'd say that I loved a piece of music based on a memory of having loved it once.

The times they are a changin'
Lol

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 9:57 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

I'm probably the biggest Morricone nut on the planet, but this score has never appealed to me, and neither has that "Abolição" piece. He made a very similar choral piece for "Moses the lawgiver" called "Israel" which I think is way catchier and grander.

Peter smile


I agree absolutely that "Israel" is a grander piece of music, but there's something about "Abolição" that appeals to me in its repetitiveness and insistence. Another score of which I had a first taste on "I Film Della Violenza", which may give it a sentimental edge. I did once see the film, late night on UK TV, probably early 1980s.

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 10:11 AM   
 By:   Michael_McMahan   (Member)

I'll chime in quickly just to say I've always loved this score. First the abbreviated Vivimusic then the GDM which was allowed to breath and develope more. I love Ennio's scores that incorperate the kind of percussion (bongos?) found here, The Island, Oceano, etc. It's such a mellow and comforting sound.

And I also adore "Abolição". It really builds into something powerful (I also agree "Israel" has the edge on it though).

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 7:08 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Morricone used this form of music twice before BURN! in L'UOMO E LA MAGIA and THE YEAR OF THE CANNIBALS. A refrain that keeps going in an ever spiraling fashion. Is there a musical term for this?

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2011 - 7:16 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

be nice if this and other lp's originally issued by UA (ALGIERS etc) were released on domestic cd labels.aa

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2011 - 6:08 AM   
 By:   mikael488   (Member)

Morricone used this form of music twice before BURN! in L'UOMO E LA MAGIA and THE YEAR OF THE CANNIBALS. A refrain that keeps going in an ever spiraling fashion. Is there a musical term for this?

Afaik both of the films you mention came after QUEIMADA.

QUEIMADA (first cinema release: december 1969)
I CANNIBALI (first cinema release: April 1970)
L'UOMO E LA MAGIA (first screened: 1972)

I CANNIBALI was probably recorded around the same time as QUEIMADA but I can't imagine MAGIA was recorded 2-3 years before its release.

 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2011 - 7:28 AM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Morricone used this form of music twice before BURN! in L'UOMO E LA MAGIA and THE YEAR OF THE CANNIBALS. A refrain that keeps going in an ever spiraling fashion. Is there a musical term for this?

I've only seen BURN! once about 20 years ago, and never collected any of these soundtracks you are referring to. Even though I don't know what these sound like, there can be a number of descriptions regarding musical forms which repeat:

  • Theme And Variations - wherein a single theme is altered in harmonic counterpoint, rhythm, timbre and/or orchestrations with each repetition of the main theme.

  • Passacaglia - and old form (cir. 1700) which repeats its main theme like above, but with bass/beat remaining unswervingly consistent throughout.

  • Chaconne - a relative of the Passacaglia, only with shorter harmonic progressions and rapid repetitive bass-lines.

  • Perpetuum Mobile - a body of music in which one piece is played repeatedly uncountable times, with the music seemingly moving onwards into infinity without change.

    Minimalist composers tend to gravitate towards the Perpetuum Mobile (Arvo Part used this as the title of one of his works).

    After listening to a number of Ennio Morricone soundtracks, I can take an educated guess and say Morricone would use the Passacaglia (knowing his penchant for insistent rhythms and repetitions of themes). Jerry Goldsmith claimed to have used the Passacaglia very rarely, in his liner notes to THE BLUE MAX soundtrack album.

    Theme And Variations overall remain in concert repertoire, such examples being Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and Benjamin Britten's Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, and so forth...

  •  
     
     Posted:   Jan 8, 2011 - 9:56 AM   
     By:   Morricone   (Member)

    Morricone used this form of music twice before BURN! in L'UOMO E LA MAGIA and THE YEAR OF THE CANNIBALS. A refrain that keeps going in an ever spiraling fashion. Is there a musical term for this?

    Afaik both of the films you mention came after QUEIMADA.

    QUEIMADA (first cinema release: december 1969)
    I CANNIBALI (first cinema release: April 1970)
    L'UOMO E LA MAGIA (first screened: 1972)

    I CANNIBALI was probably recorded around the same time as QUEIMADA but I can't imagine MAGIA was recorded 2-3 years before its release.


    Thanks. It was a simple slip of the tongue, or rather brain. Meaning to say after rather than before. Getting old.

     
     
     Posted:   Jan 10, 2011 - 4:12 AM   
     By:   Dan Azevedo   (Member)

    Another inspired Morricone score for a movie with a troubled production history. I read somewhere, years ago, that members of the crew were abusive towards Negro actors during the shooting and this has tainted the movie for me. Please don't take it as fact. Has anyone read a Brando biography and would care to comment? Anyway, it is another fine Italian political movie and I believe that since Morricone was working with one of his trusted partners (director Pontecorvo) he was given "carte blanche" on the score and came up with the memorable Abolição theme.

     
     
     Posted:   Jan 10, 2011 - 10:39 AM   
     By:   Morricone   (Member)

    I found an interesting quote from Gillo Pontecorvo:
    " I once had an ongoing argument with Ennio. He had the same argument with Pasolini. We wanted to put some pre-existing music over some scenes. We wanted music we already had in mind. But Ennio, quite rightly responded 'The music might be wonderful for a particular scene, but it would upset the stylistic unity of the film score as a whole'. In QUEIMADA Ennio had the same argument over one scene. The army of beggars walk on the sand, bringing goats, their carts and there are injured people carrying weapons. I had in mind 'Missa Luba', an African mass with a strong religious quality. When Ennio objected I would not change my mind. But he went ahead and wrote a wonderful piece of music, finer music than 'Missa Luba'. I believe it is one of his finest pieces, called 'Abolicao'. It is a layman's revolutionary hymn about freedom from slavery."

    The best story about a score since the Jerry Goldsmith one about him writing THE BLUE MAX theme to replace Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra."

     
     Posted:   Jan 10, 2011 - 12:48 PM   
     By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

    that quote is from the documentary on Ennio iirc
    (i reviewed the dvd in FSM)

     
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