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.
This period piece set in Northern Italy after the Napoleonic Wars provided Morricone ample opportunity for some great music. There is the beautiful "Ritorno A Casa", the dramatic "Tradimento", the fanciful choral "Te Deum Laudamus", a variety of violin pieces under "Frammenti Di Sonata" and even Ennio's rendition of the traditional folk dance "L'Uva Fogarina" here titled "Dirindindin". But the central theme, which is a showstopper, based on another folk dance form is "Rabbia E Tarantella". As you can see I prefer a unique theme, like SHIP HUNTERS, ANCHE SE VOLESSI CHE FACCIO, STANNO TUTTI BENE and this one rather than a good rendition of something Morricone has done too many times before. Apparently Quentin Tarantino agrees as he made this his end titles to INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Ironically I could not find one of the various renditions of "Rabbia E Tarantella" on Youtube that doesn't have BASTERDS attached to it. So at least this one I chose begins with a neutral title card:
The story of ALLONSANFAN (literally phonetically the first two words of La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem) is of Fulvio Imbriani (Marcello Mastroianni again!) who was an officer under Robespierrre's flag, and after years imprisoned, is let out to lead the authorities to his revolutionary companions. His old friends come to have him rejoin their cause but he has had it and wants to distant himself from them and return to the aristocratic life he was born into.
There have been a number of filmmakers who have made Morricone their composer. There also have been an illustrious handful that have worked with him only once like Roman Polanski, Terence Malick and Lina Wertmüller. But after handing over two wonderful scores, IL PRATO and this one, to the Taviani Brothers I always wondered why they didn't continue with him. That is until now. I noticed these two bombed and the next one THE NIGHT OF THE SHOOTING STARS, which they did with Nicola Piovani a fine composer, was a big hit. And they worked with him ever since. Ah, timing.
No other composer has this kind of variety. It's a fun thing looking through these 25 threads and listening to the pieces presented and noticing how unique they all sound.
Thanks! I feel I have reached my goal when I hear such a comment. Morricone repeats himself like any composer but when he is inspired he can work miracles. And he seems to have been inspired at more times in his life than any composer I know.
Another lovely score by the Maestro which, like Addio, Fratello Crudele - discussed elsewhere - doesn't get played too often here.
I know that the score does wear me down a little with the repetitiveness of the Tarantella ... having three versions on the GDM release is perhaps the problem ... a case of less is more?
I think I may come back to add another comment once I've reminded myself of the score.
At this rate I think I'm in for a day of music by Ennio Morricone!
Edit: I'm close to finishing my second play of this score since the above posting from 24hrs ago and wish to amend my comments. It clearly has been some time since I had last played the score ...
... the Tarantella theme is fine, as are the remaining instrumental pieces. Indeed, much of the string work is superb. It is the choral work which grates ... especially the pieces Te Deum Laudamus and Dirindindin.
Thank you for including it so that I was jogged into giving it another play (or two ...)
i would like to know what you think of what i wrote on page 3 on the FRANCOIS DE ROUBAIX discussion ?
Page 3? there 's one page I think. Well in one sense that is very complimentary. He definitely had his own voice. Roubaix had this freewheeling zest to his music. He would experiment with sounds and voices. He could go anywhere with any type of jazz based rhythms whether it be blues, latin, dixieland, folk, pop, etc. And maybe that is the type of Morricone you like which is cool. But my problem is, does that define Morricone for you? After over 30 entries now I thought maybe people might at least say "Man this guy Morricone has tried everything!" whether you like it or not. He is also more cerebral than Roubaix. Morricone would not pick up a trumpet, which is his instrument, or even go to the piano to write. He is known for simply starting with a blank piece of paper so he can begin with any instrument on the face of the earth and go from there. And that brings us to another thing, Morricone is classically trained not just on trumpet but in composition. My guess is if Roubaix has any classical training it would in guitar. the good part of that is he might hit more joyous highs than Ennio would. But, hey, Morricone is Italian so he's got passion. And his soul belongs closer to Sicily. He can improv on trumpet so he understands that side of things. His album with Chico Buarque, THE BLUE-EYED BANDIT, and all those film noirs you mentioned show that Morricone can visit Roubaix territory sometimes. But there are a lot more places that I don't see Roubaix going. I can only judge from the handful of compilation albums and a few more full score CDs I have but, whether by choice or being stereotyped Roubaix didn't ever get into doing madrigals, chamber, Gregorian chants, tarantellas or other musical modes related to period pieces. He also didn't delve into the type of Bacharach related lounge Ennio did a lot with Edda scatting away. And frankly he never went for the big symphonic sound that connects with big Hollywood scores whether METELLO, THE UNTOUCHABLE or RED SONJA Morricone could visit that area too. So a French Morricone I don't get. Maybe an edgier more buoyant Francis Lai. I prefer to put Roubaix in his own category. Which reminds me. I've got to put my favorite Roubaix in your thread.
About Morricone's so-called TARANTELLA (even by Ennio himself): for what it's worth is not really a tarantella but a SALTARELLO.
That's an interesting observation. I should look up the difference...
There are parts of this disc that I don't care for - mainly the choral parts - but the "tarantella" (or whatever) is another compulsive track, even if it lacks the bite of some of his other repetitive pieces.
For those near Los Angeles, Tomorrow LOS ANGELES ITALIA 2011 The Italian Film Festival – MANN CHINESE 6 THEATRE at Grauman's Chinese will present a FREE screening of ALLONSANFAN Tuesday 10am First come, first served.