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 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 4:25 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

MADDALENA
Famous Morricone
#20


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.

I've enjoyed your responses to this series. Like Morricone's music they are all over the map. It is appropriate that the 20th entry is MADDALENA because it's story is emblematic of Morricone's career. Most Americans will immediately wonder what is so famous about MADDALENA? But Europeans only have to hear the name of one theme "Chi Mai" and they know.
When in 1971 Jerzy Kawalerowicz, a key figure in Polish cinema, decided to do a co-production in Italy Morricone was a natural choice. He had already done quite a number of arthouse films by then with a number of major Italian filmmakers. And this was definitely an arthouse project despite the erotic elements. It was the story of Maddalena, a free sexual spirit looking for meaning in her relationships and a young priest looking for meaning beyond his frock. The juxtapositions both of Polish and Italian sensibilities created an uneasy mesh. Leave it to Morricone to create an unusual unifying atmosphere that suggests both the sacred and profane:






Thanks to mikael488 so I didn't have to search for this.

Now this brings me to dissonance. You're talking to a guy who has had a long journey with Morricone. My first reaction was to avoid him. Then I wanted to hear select themes from him. Later I was fascinated by his many musical ideas and eventually I got to the point saying "he's not just doodling he is attempting something every time out of the gate!" Which left me with a massive amount of music and buch of dissonant cues I set aside. After awhile I was curious what someone a brilliant as he is is doing with all this noise. Then I looked into dissonance. I found the definition rather broad and I found this part in Wikipedia rather relevant:

Despite the fact that words like unpleasant and grating are often used to explain the sound of dissonance, all music with a harmonic or tonal basis—even music perceived as generally harmonious—incorporates some degree of dissonance. The buildup and release of tension (dissonance and resolution), which can occur on every level from the subtle to the crass, is partially responsible for what listeners perceive as beauty, emotion, and expressiveness in music.

So, as I gathered from the composers I've talked to about this, it is all a matter of degrees. I was originally going to label MADDALENA dissonant Morricone because it is practically all dissonance but I figured there would be quite a large group that would stop right there (in fact I'm sure there are a few I just lost). But this is beautiful dissonance that includes "Chi Mai". So here is Ennio Morricone that not only makes a dissonant piece a best seller at the time, but it stays in the popular culture for quite awhile. To the point that ten years later it is used as the main theme to the UK series THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DAVID LLOYD GEORGE and becomes a hit all over again. Plus Jean Paul Belmondo hires Morricone to re-orchestrate it (and write the rest of the score) for LE PROFESSIONNEL and that becomes a hit. During most of his early concerts "Chi Mai" was a mainstay and would always get applause on the first few notes. And finally THE website on evrything Morricone is called:
http://www.chimai.com/

Ultimately what Morricone did for me, like Goldsmith, over the years was teach me music. And maybe more than that I learned whether you had a 90 piece orchestra or put together in the studio one instrument at a time(because you had no budget) something that "sounds" decent, it was all the same. Ultimately after you learned basic composition, learning what instruments provoked what emotions in human response, then what do you do? Do you simply push those buttons and pick up the check? Or do you challenge your abilities by trying new approaches and maybe getting a more complex, richer response. You use all the tools at your disposal including dissonance. You pretend your audience is just as sophisticated as you and eventually they will catch up.

...as Ella Fitzgerald sang "T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)".


#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 21, 2011 - 4:32 PM   
 By:   Loren   (Member)

Most Americans will immediately wonder what is so famous about MADDALENA? But Europeans only have to hear the name of one theme "Chi Mai" and they know.

You took a while to get to my favourite Morricone! smile
To me "Come Maddalena" is a wonderful jazzy track with charming Edda's voice. I think I have listened to this score one thousand times.

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 4:46 PM   
 By:   plindboe   (Member)

I love that video btw. Seeing a gorgeous italian chick running around on a beach in slow motion doing retarded things while being scored by two of my all-time favourite themes "Chi mai" and "Come Maddalena" is just amazing beyond belief.

The album does indeed have difficult stuff as well, but having two of the greatest themes ever composed, it's really worth it no matter how much you pay.

Peter smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 4:49 PM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I just love that over nine minute Come Maddalena track.

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 4:54 PM   
 By:   Loren   (Member)

I just love that over nine minute Come Maddalena track.

Before I could find the regular Maddalena soundtrack I used to listen to an abridged 5-minute version for many years. Imagine my wonder the first time I listened to the full version of COME MADDALENA

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 4:56 PM   
 By:   plindboe   (Member)

I just love that over nine minute Come Maddalena track.

Me too.

Come Maddalena > Chi mai, in my opinion, though "Chi mai" was the one that got all the attention. But they are both extraordinary pieces.

Peter smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 5:00 PM   
 By:   Bond1965   (Member)

I'd love to get this CD, but it appears to be out of print and the ones that are out there too expensive.

Maybe someone will reissue it as they always seem to do with Morricone.

James

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 6:40 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

I just love that over nine minute Come Maddalena track.

It is one of Morricone's most moving and powerful compositions for me. I never tire of it, and the concert version on DVD was nothing short of devastating. Seriously an amazing and wonderful score.

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 8:42 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

From a 2008 Morricone conducted concert in Belfast:

http://www.4shared.com/audio/hQVnKjYr/ennio_1b.html

 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2011 - 9:30 PM   
 By:   Holly Mitchell   (Member)

Indeed...and Mahalo.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 1:18 AM   
 By:   Urs Lesse   (Member)

And so I learn something new, too. I would never have thought of MADDALENA as dissonant.

Chi Mai has been a long-time favourite of mine, although I first learned to know it watching the final minutes of LE PROFESSIONNEL some late saturday night in the 1990s. It took me much longer, specifically until I got to hear "my" first concert rendition (it must have been the VOCI DAL SILENZIO 2CD) of it, to love Come Maddalena. To me its concert version unfolds the full beauty of this track much better than the original recording from the 1971 score.

While I guess most Morriconistas here are aware of it, I think it's still helpful to add that the word "Come" in the track title is not English, but Italian (it translates "As/Like Maddalena" in English). The movie as well as the rest of the score could make one assume it was English, but it's not. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 1:47 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I just love that over nine minute Come Maddalena track.

Agreed ... agreed ...agreed!

From the shorter (approx. 5m) piece on Un Film, Una Musica through various concert renditions and the superlative version on the compilation album Film Music 1966 - 1987 (which strangely does not sound quite as good as the slighter shorter version I had on vinyl) ... to the full score (initially on GDM, then on Saimel) his piece Come Maddalena remains my all-time favourite composition by the Maestro.

I prefer the full OST recording most.

I can't call the score dissonant - far from it - but it's certainly not a score to play at inappropriate times ... Erotico Mistico must top all other entrants in the most descriptive orgiastic sound field ... and that includes the likes of Donna Summer! smile

As for Chi Mai ... yes, a gorgeous piece but I find the revised version which became the UK hit single slightly better than the OST version - perhaps because it was the version I knew first. Morricone refers to the piece having been used as the theme to The Life and Times Of David Lloyd George (1981) here in the UK and certainly it was this mass exposure which gave rise to the theme's popularity, but it had previously been used in another British TV programme: An Englishman's Castle (1978)

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 8:39 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

And so I learn something new, too. I would never have thought of MADDALENA as dissonant.

Chi Mai has been a long-time favourite of mine, although I first learned to know it watching the final minutes of LE PROFESSIONNEL some late saturday night in the 1990s. It took me much longer, specifically until I got to hear "my" first concert rendition (it must have been the VOCI DAL SILENZIO 2CD) of it, to love Come Maddalena. To me its concert version unfolds the full beauty of this track much better than the original recording from the 1971 score.

While I guess most Morriconistas here are aware of it, I think it's still helpful to add that the word "Come" in the track title is not English, but Italian (it translates "As/Like Maddalena" in English). The movie as well as the rest of the score could make one assume it was English, but it's not. wink



The movie isn't totally dissonant but practically all the pieces adhere to some basic tenants of dissonance. At least I was told this by a couple of musicians and listening I can see what they mean. Compare these compositions to a lot of what-we-call melodic and you will see his counterpoint and countermelody becomes harsher here, more jarring. Musical definitions are a loose thing anyway.

BTW "Come Maddalena" is the piece associated with Lisa Gastoni's doppelganger (Lisa in a blond wig) who shows up throughout the movie.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 12:29 PM   
 By:   odelayy   (Member)

Chi Mai was a huge hit in France thanks to the success of "Le Professionel", but also (and above all) thanks to a famous commercial for ... dog food.
Here's the latest version of this commercial ( but the most popular was the one from the late 80s). The problem with this theme, is that everytime the French hear it, they see a German shepheard running in a field.
It's sad I know, but we can't help it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 4:08 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Another one I don't own, but I have a theme or two on the ANTHOLOGY set, and he did play the theme in his Royal Albert Hall concert last year. Very nice.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 4:19 PM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)

From a 2008 Morricone conducted concert in Belfast:

http://www.4shared.com/audio/hQVnKjYr/ennio_1b.html


Love this score to and had the pleasure of being at the Belfast concert and hearing that track live soprano Susanna Rigacci was fantastico.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 4:23 PM   
 By:   Peter Greenhill   (Member)

I have the Japanese CD and really enjoy it.

Wayoutwest: Thanks for the link. A beautiful version. Would have loved to have been there.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 4:52 PM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)

I have the Japanese CD and really enjoy it.

Wayoutwest: Thanks for the link. A beautiful version. Would have loved to have been there.


Your Welcome but the credit goes to WILLIAM DMCCRUM for uploading the link. wink

Had been thinking that I'd really love to see the Maestro in action and thought the only chance for me was to plan some kind of trip to Italy or something then found out about the Belfast concert could hardly believe it at the time.
Very enjoyable evening's entertainment and susanna rigacci wow such a powerful voice especially when experienced live.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 4:53 PM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

From a 2008 Morricone conducted concert in Belfast:

http://www.4shared.com/audio/hQVnKjYr/ennio_1b.html


Love this score to and had the pleasure of being at the Belfast concert and hearing that track live soprano Susanna Rigacci was fantastico.


Yes, she is, quite that. I became interested after seeing her on the Munich concert DVD and found that she is a ligit. operatic soprano specializing in early Italian operas (Pergolesi and Donizetti, etc.). I won't say she has completely replaced Edda, but Suzanna's voice stands well on it's own and I feel that Morricone must be happy to have her singing his music.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2011 - 5:38 PM   
 By:   Peter Greenhill   (Member)

Suzanna is great

 
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