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 Posted:   Feb 20, 2011 - 2:40 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

LA COSA BUFFA
Morricone variations
#35



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.

Here is another one I might get some flack for but I don't care, this is fascinating to me. After seeing INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION, which changed my mind about Morricone in 1970 I started looking for that music everywhere. And the only place I could find it (and many of over 200 other Morricone themes) was on compilation albums. Which became the way a young guy with limited resources could hear a lot of themes while not paying out a lot of money. Each Italian company seemed to have a whole list of Morricone themes under their umbrella: RCA, GM, Cinevox, Cometa, Cam, etc. and one that struck me from Cinevox was LA COSA BUFFA. I said to myself "this composer didn't have to work hard on this one, 5 notes up 5 notes down and pick up the check". It seemed way too simple. It didn’t seem to be a particularly good love theme either. Add to this one of the elements of the theme seemed to have an electronic “Wow” (beyond what was intended) that sounded wrong as was repeated in every compilation for a long while (It has been corrected as much as possible since). Anyway after playing the heck out that LP I had to admit it was kind of catchy so I hunted down the full soundtrack to see if there were other themes on it. Unfortunately there wasn’t. Jump to 2004 when Cinevox decided to do an expansion to 25 cuts eliciting a reaction from me of “expansion of what? The same theme?” Well there is one extra theme, a rock piece. (My theory is Morricone had to have 2 rock pieces in this and having both based on the main theme was overkill). But that was it. The rest was all that one theme.
Years move on and my assessment of Morricone keeps ascending. So (like Williams and Goldsmith) I eventually get the idea Ennio always does things for specific reasons. Now having pulled out LA COSA BUFFA quite a few times I probably would use this as a sterling example of what can be done with a theme in a film context. This would work well in a music class. Here is what he does:

Cut 1: The standard model of the theme with Edda’s voice, piano and orchestra evenly balanced.
2. Emphasis on keyboard with echoplex strings that gives it a “Chi Mai” flavor and the result being a serious love theme with tension.
3. Accent on Morricone’s cascading strings and the theme done more playfully. Result is still a love theme but of a more innocent variety and the voice is either male or Edda bringing her’s down giving the impression it is the guy’s side of things.
4. Theme done totally with those echoplex strings giving it total tension and a nightmarish quality.
5. Cascading strings more tender, Edda more whispery and intimate and harpsichord gives us a playful and sexy piece.
6. Calliope version but not too circusy. Fun with more than a bit of sadness.
7. I first thought this was another theme. No it is the background to the main theme that, with full orchestra, turns it into a full-fledged mature love theme.
8. Emphasis on just two notes of this theme and Edda doing her scat singing gives it a jazzy turn, more an entertainment piece.
9. Bass, guitar, trumpet and organ gives a total bluesy slant, add strings, Edda and chorus and you get the prettiest cacophany you would ever want to hear. The result: dreamlike.
10. Same as 5 but Edda breathing more deeply and everything slower so even more intimacy results.
11. Rock version of the theme incorporating a riff on a Hammond organ.
12.. This one is also slower starting quietly with woodwind and building, making it more tender and emotional.
13. The strings take on a fanciful classical bent while the organ is bringing an element of sanctity to the love theme, approaching the spiritual.
14. Okay this is just a shortened version of #8.
15. This is the rock piece (actually more of a dance piece) I mentioned above. But the more I listen to it the more it almost seems to have basic structural similarities to the main theme.
16. Very short version of 10 with Edda verging on the orgasmic this time.
17. Short version where strings and horn are played even higher giving it an achingly tender tone.
18. This is the film version alternate of #9 and you can hear it is slightly more lowkey which makes sense, cacophony on film needs to be brought down.
19. Again a film version alternate of #3 this time which is more subdued.
20. This is a slower version of the full fledged main theme with cascading strings and it happens to be on youtube:





21. Even shorter version of #11 with a different riff.
22. Short “Chi Mai” version on horn and faster giving it a jazzier feel.
23. Short version of #11 but slowed down to the point it changes it totally into a lounge piece.
24.The way this is a totally slowed muted version suggests the end of the film and a dissipating of the passions involved.
25 A little faster version of #23 so upbeat lounge.

This is my one and only cut by cut analysis and was done to avoid those reactions that might have been like my early one, “hey, their all the same theme!”
For me what started out as a neglible entry ends up as a master class of what you can do with ten little notes, 5 up and 5 down.

Give credit to director Aldo Lado whom this was the 4th of 5 collaborations in a row. This and having the lead actor Gianni Morandi (whom Morricone did quite a few albums with) may have made him comfortable enough to experiment with this comedy-romance about a teacher who falls in love with a girl above his station in life.




#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
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#34 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76422&forumID=1&archive=0
#35 http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=76481&forumID=1&archive=0

 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2011 - 2:48 PM   
 By:   Peter Greenhill   (Member)

This is one of my favourite Morricone scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2011 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

Blast - it's time for bed, and I really want to play all those variations with your commentary. Well, tomorrow is another day!

TG

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2011 - 3:04 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

BUT I will say - in track 9, listen out for the sound and syncopated rhythm that surfaces in the third part of the Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti.

Goodnight!

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2011 - 3:33 PM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

BUT I will say - in track 9, listen out for the sound and syncopated rhythm that surfaces in the third part of the Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti.

Goodnight!


Yer lightweight, it's only half past eleven!

 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2011 - 3:54 PM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)

Simply irresistible my first impression upon first hearing some samples from this a number of years ago over at Movie Grooves had to buy it instantly.Have not listened to this in some time but I'm playing it right now bellissimo.

 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2011 - 4:16 PM   
 By:   Peter Greenhill   (Member)

Morricone at his best.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2011 - 4:38 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

BUT I will say - in track 9, listen out for the sound and syncopated rhythm that surfaces in the third part of the Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti.

Goodnight!


Yer lightweight, it's only half past eleven!


Yes, but I probably wake up earlier than you do because it gets lighter quicker up north...

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 21, 2011 - 10:04 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Wow! And I actually thought this ultimate example of monothematic Morricone was unpopular.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 22, 2011 - 10:46 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Well I know it isn't to everybody's taste. I actually gave an extra sealed CD I had of it to Drivingmissdaisy but never heard a peep from him about it.
Although I emphasized if he didn't like it it to give it back and I'd find it a good home.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 2, 2011 - 1:28 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

...
Yes, but I probably wake up earlier than you do because it gets lighter quicker up north...


At this time of the year?

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 2, 2011 - 1:33 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Whilst I certainly don't dislike this score, I do find the Cinevox album a little too repetitive. Whereas virtually all of his other scores benefit from hearing the album as opposed to just one or two themes on compilations, I've never taken to this one quite as much.

I'm more than happy to hear a track from the score at any time but have often stopped the CD at track 9 before all the reprise tracks cut in.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 2, 2011 - 2:01 PM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I'm happy with the cue on the More Mondo Morricone album. That & the first album are the perfect introduction to non-western Morricone, it's a shame they're out of print.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2011 - 3:04 AM   
 By:   Issac   (Member)

This is one of my all time favourite Morricone scores.

I went out and got it after hearing "Gocce di Pioggia" on the Erotica Morricone comp. Theres so many hypnotic, standout tracks here - my favourites being "Pensando a Maria", "Gocce di Pioggia", "Strani Pensieri" and "Catalogo Incompleto"

Highly recommended, if you can't find the CD you can purchase it on iTunes.



Classic Morricone.

 
 Posted:   Apr 3, 2011 - 3:56 AM   
 By:   wayoutwest   (Member)

Awesome Issac and I cannot thank Henry enough for bringing this one up in his series I've already lost track of how many times that I have listened to this one over and over again.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 14, 2011 - 9:47 AM   
 By:   Bond1965   (Member)

Well I know it isn't to everybody's taste. I actually gave an extra sealed CD I had of it to Drivingmissdaisy but never heard a peep from him about it.
Although I emphasized if he didn't like it it to give it back and I'd find it a good home.


Well if DMD doesn't want the CD, I'll BUY it off you. I'd love to have it.

James

 
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