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 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 10:55 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

MARCO POLO
Epic Morricone
#19

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.

Sometimes the very structure of a musical piece can symbolically embody a whole story. I adore the way John William's end title to THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE builds higher and higher until it breaks up into an orchestral ocean. That is obviously the wave that capsizes the Poseidon. Morricone's main theme to Marco Polo is a perfect spike. The serene beginning and ending is China, with centuries upon centuries of isolation and a way of seeing the world and a way of thought all it's own. The musical spike is Marco Polo who brings the good, the bad, and the ugly of western civilization to the East which rocks their world:






This mini-series was directed by Giuliano Montaldo whom Morricone collaborated with 12 times between 1967 (GRAND SLAM) and 2008 (THE DEMONS OF ST. PETERSBURG). And here I have to mention something else that is unique about Ennio. Every major composer has had a number of associations with directors over their career. But Ennio literally has cornered the market. Practically every major Italian director who got started after Ennio began scoring (1961 IL FEDERALE) has at one time or another called Morricone his composer and some (Pasolini and Petri) who began before that. Add to that the American associations he created later in life and you have a jaw-dropping roster that call Morricone his own.
This was one of the luckier productions that Morricone was associated with. It was shot in English and was fairly successful here in America so that there was a gatefolf LP released of it. Many European composers consider the American approach to film and music expensive and overblown. But this is partially due to the fact that they don't get an opportunity to do many of those. Here Morricone shows he can develop themes in a more traditional way and write a score along the lines film music fans seem to like. Not that he doesn't indulge in some of his favorite things. The madrigal is a form he has an affection for and here he has ample opportunity to use it. And an occasional dissonant piece for the mysterious elements. But mostly this is beautiful stuff. Among his other mini-series are MOSES, THE OCTOPUS (La Piovra), MUSASHI and NOSTROMO







#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
#9 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75088&forumID=1&archive=0
#10 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75103&forumID=1&archive=0
#11 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75147&forumID=1&archive=0
#12 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75194&forumID=1&archive=0
#13 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75252&forumID=1&archive=0
#14 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75297&forumID=1&archive=0
#15 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75307&forumID=1&archive=0
#16 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75364&forumID=1&archive=0
#17 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75414&forumID=1&archive=0
#18 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75471&forumID=1&archive=0
#19 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=75532&forumID=1&archive=0


 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 11:17 AM   
 By:   Urs Lesse   (Member)

Morricone's MARCO POLO score, in its 2CD expanded version, has an incredible wealth of great material. The main theme in its irresistible development was a revelation to me from the first time I heard it and it has remained one.

It is such a pain that so much of the score (i.e. the master tapes) got damaged by water which you cannot miss whilst listening to the 2CD edition. As far as I know, the original album master of the LP version still exists though and provided the source for the undistorted tracks. This and Morricone's similarly immortal NOVECENTO soundtrack are the two Morricone works I still wish would get rerecorded in its entirety one day.

Even with the muffled sound of the extra material, I still strongly recommend to look for the 2CD set.

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 11:24 AM   
 By:   That Neil Guy   (Member)


Even with the muffled sound of the extra material, I still strongly recommend to look for the 2CD set.


I love this score. I had the lp and treasured it, then got the 2 cd set when it was released. http://amzn.to/e9pBha

I, too, love the development of the absolutely gorgeous main theme.

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 11:25 AM   
 By:   mark ford   (Member)

I only have a handful of Morricone albums, but I believe this was my very first by him which I got after the mini-series aired. It was most likely my introduction to his music proper and remains my favorite of his works. Beautiful score and great gatefold LP presentation!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 11:29 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

I've been waiting for you to land on this title. Marco Polo is (quite possibly) my very favorite Ennio Morricone score. I can remember the beautiful red fold-out album of this score and put it on cassette. The cassette eventually wore out, and the album was left in San Francisco when I moved to Scotland, but I never forgot it's haunting theme(s). I've got to give it to Handstand though....we both love the same two Morricone scores, 'Marco Polo' as well as his underappreciated '1900'. I consider myself fortunate to have the double cd of the former and though I do have the GDM-edel Italian import of '1900', I too wish that it were expanded. But the music to Marco Polo is....beyond gorgeous.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 12:13 PM   
 By:   Illustrator   (Member)

Magnificent score. This and I Promessi Sposi are my most listened to from this period.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 12:44 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Morricone's MARCO POLO score, in its 2CD expanded version, has an incredible wealth of great material. The main theme in its irresistible development was a revelation to me from the first time I heard it and it has remained one.

It is such a pain that so much of the score (i.e. the master tapes) got damaged by water which you cannot miss whilst listening to the 2CD edition.


That must be the greatest of ironies...that the tapes for Marco Polo were destroyed by WATER!

Anyway, it's another title I've heard of and been wanting to check out for some time, but never got around to. Nice clip above, though. That's the kind of Ennio I like.

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   JasonComerford   (Member)

I found the LP of "Marco Polo" at a Goodwill last summer; it was part of an incredible "I must be dreaming" haul that included mint vinyl copies of "The Beastmaster", "Starman", "Witness", "The Karate Kid", "The Karate Kid Part II", "The Pirate Movie", and... wait for it... "Teen Wolf." Oh yeah.

Needless to say, the Morricone has gotten the most play on my turntable. Gorgeous, haunting, sublime music; it should be far better known. I cut together an 11-minute-ish suite for a compilation mix I made, and I play it often.

PS to "That Neil Guy," one Mr. Shurley -- we live in the same area and we have many mutual friends. I hope our paths cross in the real world one day.

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 3:42 PM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)

Another score I have never got around to it has been in and out of my basket many times over the years lol last time I picked up LA PIOVRA (THE OCTOPUS) instead.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 4:28 PM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

MARCO is one of the scores that I still have on vinyl, and one of the many reasons that I am thinking about buying something to connect my turntable to my PC so I can make my own CDs from my albums. My question is, USB or not-USB. Maybe I should first just try a direct input to my soundcard just to see what happens?

After reading that some of the original score tracks had water damage, I'm now happy that I didn't pay big bucks for that CD set. Now I just have to figure out how to get my precious LP digitized.

I enjoy this series on Morricone scores. Some of them I'm familiar with, most of them I am not. These posts are a big aid in my finally figuring out what is what in Morricone World.

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 4:36 PM   
 By:   That Neil Guy   (Member)

I found the LP of "Marco Polo" at a Goodwill last summer; it was part of an incredible "I must be dreaming" haul that included mint vinyl copies of "The Beastmaster", "Starman", "Witness", "The Karate Kid", "The Karate Kid Part II", "The Pirate Movie", and... wait for it... "Teen Wolf." Oh yeah.

Needless to say, the Morricone has gotten the most play on my turntable. Gorgeous, haunting, sublime music; it should be far better known. I cut together an 11-minute-ish suite for a compilation mix I made, and I play it often.

PS to "That Neil Guy," one Mr. Shurley -- we live in the same area and we have many mutual friends. I hope our paths cross in the real world one day.


I'll be at the Warehouse tomorrow night to see Virginia Woolf!

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 4:56 PM   
 By:   Gary S.   (Member)

Been a while since I thought about the miniseries the music is from. Now I guess I need to track down the score cd. Saw the miniseries when it was first shown here in the US . What a cast. What a score.

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 5:09 PM   
 By:   Urs Lesse   (Member)

After reading that some of the original score tracks had water damage, I'm now happy that I didn't pay big bucks for that CD set. Now I just have to figure out how to get my precious LP digitized.

Bill, the tracks that were already included in your LP set are in pristine sound on the 2CD set. Only the previously unreleased tracks have muffled sound.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2011 - 5:34 PM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

After reading that some of the original score tracks had water damage, I'm now happy that I didn't pay big bucks for that CD set. Now I just have to figure out how to get my precious LP digitized.

Bill, the tracks that were already included in your LP set are in pristine sound on the 2CD set. Only the previously unreleased tracks have muffled sound.


What I am wondering is if the previously unreleased tracks contain any themes that were not represented on the original LP? As is the case with much of Morricone's scores, I've never seen MARCO, so the album is really all that I know about it. If it were a movie or series that I loved then maybe a certain track would be impossible to live without. Not so in my case, it's simply a soundtrack album I love. I would have to be convinced that the extra tracks would be worthwhile as a listening experience. As it is, I have a good turntable, and what I have has a respectible sound. Even used copies of the 2CD set go for $50. But thank you for the advice. I will keep it in mind if I see a used copy at a reasonable price.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 12:59 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Whilst I shouldn't deny that Marco Polo is a lovely score ... and the main theme is a real beauty, I've never felt closely involved with it. I've owned the 2CD release for more than 6 years but it is not a regular on my player.

I know that the sound quality is an issue but I do believe this is the Maestro's style of music which I find least interesting. Whilst far more accessible than his giallo scores I'm usually inclined to give those air play in preference because I want to put the effort into understanding/liking them.

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 6:52 AM   
 By:   Loren   (Member)

...Even used copies of the 2CD set go for $50. But thank you for the advice. I will keep it in mind if I see a used copy at a reasonable price.

27 $ from SAE
http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/4026/MARCO-POLO-1982-TV-2-CDS/

horrifying Intermezzo release anyway. Awful sound, bad booklet and liner notes.
Even infamous Cimmerian Records releases are better than this one!

and all in all it still remains a must-have.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 2:28 PM   
 By:   soundtrackcollector   (Member)

Are there any studio insiders here who might know why a complete, restored and re-mastered version of this mini-series has not been released on DVD so far? What is holding up such a release?

Thanks

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 8:56 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Are there any studio insiders here who might know why a complete, restored and re-mastered version of this mini-series has not been released on DVD so far? What is holding up such a release?

Thanks


Only thing I can think of is this was produced by two Italian entities, Cristaldi-Labella and
Radiotelevisione Italiana, the former doesn't exist since Cristaldi's passing in 1992.
This seemed to be a pick-up for NBC.

 
 Posted:   Mar 31, 2011 - 11:28 AM   
 By:   Peter Greenhill   (Member)

Superb

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 31, 2011 - 11:59 AM   
 By:   soundtracksi   (Member)

as a morricone fan ,

i love this score ,

its big and the choir across this masterful

 
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