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 Posted:   Mar 26, 2011 - 11:41 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

THE BETROTHED
I Promessi Sposi
Golden Age Morricone
#48


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.

Just to dispel the idea I love all things Morricone I bring up a problem I have with this score. It is best illustrated by a problem I have with another score A TIME OF DESTINY. DESTINY was a heavily melodramatic epic made by Gregory Nava in the 80s. I have no doubt Morricone was asked to push the melodrama in that score and push he does. To the point I want to push back. It took me awhile to be able to listen to that score and separate it from the soap opera that it was attached to but I finally did.
I PROMESSI SPOSI has some of the same problems but not as bad. It reminds me of some of the music in the Golden Age of Hollywood where Max Steiner laid the string music over the melodrama with a trowel. Somehow I can forgive Steiner much easier. He was inventing film music and coming from a time when there was non-stop music accompanying silent film. So they had to figure out what the right amount of music was for talkies as they went along.
That and the fact some of the choral work in I PROMESSI SPOSI gets very close to the style in THE MISSION are my only problems.
That said there is some drop dead gorgeous music here. Like in the main titles:







I PROMESSI SPOSI is the "War And Peace" of Italy based on the historical novel by Alessandro Manzoni. It takes place during the Thirty-years War and the Plague of 1630 and involves Renzo and Lucia who simply want to be married but the Baron Rodrigo has his eye on her. He creates enormous barriers for them and the story is filled with all kinds of plots and sub-plots, travels and travails, and lots of intrigue before they are finally joined. It was filmed many times starting in 1908! Amongst the cast for this one are Alberto Sordi, Franco Nero, F. Murray Abraham, Burt Lancaster, Jenny Seagrove, Helmut Berger, Valentina Cortese and Fernando Rey. This particular mini-series was in 5 parts, 90 minutes each so there is much more music than there is on the one CD that was released.

BTW as you might guess this score is immensely popular with Morricone and non-Morricone fans alike as it follows traditional scoring lines and is quite lush and elaborate. The development of themes and orchestrations are of the ornate type that would have won approval of a Rozsa or Waxman. If you want to hear more there are no less than eight different cuts you can hear on Youtube, it is that popular.
This is extremely ripe for reissue and expansion since the original issue on the Fonit Cetra label came near the dawn of CDs and now goes for enormous sums.

Morricone from his coffee-table book:
For Salvatore Nocita's I PROMESSI SPOSI I concentrated on the correspondence between characters and music, writing pieces that reflect the psychology of all the main figures (the Nun of Monza, Lucia, The Unnamed, Fra Cristoforo, Don Abbondio...)
Apart from those which can be heard in the final version of the series, I also composed two other pieces: one for the confession of The Unnamed, the other for the finale. However Nocita decided not to use them because he held that they were too "high-brow" for an average television audience.









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 Posted:   Mar 26, 2011 - 12:54 PM   
 By:   Illustrator   (Member)

Wonderful score; one of my favourites so very glad to see it's getting attention in your Morricone marathon.

Fortunately I've not seen the movie so as a result have only experienced it as pure music and have no complaints. Strangely, despite the comparison with The Mission, it's probably been close to a decade since I listened to that score whereas I Promessi Sposi is a score I'd never want to be without.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 26, 2011 - 8:26 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

Wonderful score; one of my favourites so very glad to see it's getting attention in your Morricone marathon.

Fortunately I've not seen the movie so as a result have only experienced it as pure music and have no complaints. Strangely, despite the comparison with The Mission, it's probably been close to a decade since I listened to that score whereas I Promessi Sposi is a score I'd never want to be without.


...and you are not the only one who feels that way. My complaints have always been in the minority.

 
 Posted:   Mar 27, 2011 - 3:05 PM   
 By:   plindboe   (Member)

The main title melts my heart when the viola enters. It's one of my all-time favourite pieces.

One of my gf's all-time favourite pieces is from the same soundtrack and is called "Addio monti". I sometimes think that if this piece had been composed by Elgar or another of the classical giants this would easily have become a famous classical evergreen. Composed for an italian TV mini-series though, it gets way less attention than it deserves.



Peter smile

 
 Posted:   Mar 28, 2011 - 12:55 AM   
 By:   Loren   (Member)

Beautiful score but...

the creepiest horryfing dullest and most grandmotherly tv series of Italian TV history.
The slight thought of it makes me throw up.

Nocita thumbs down!

 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2011 - 2:24 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I Promessi Sposi has, to date, escaped me ... as you suggest, used market prices are a little steep (when I've seen it advertised). So my only recording is a theme included on the Arena Concerto album.

This and the excepts you and plindboe have linked are very nice but do not inspire me to spend a fortune on buying the score ... a re-release would be welcome, nonetheless.

 
 Posted:   Mar 29, 2011 - 5:23 AM   
 By:   plindboe   (Member)

I Promessi Sposi has, to date, escaped me ... as you suggest, used market prices are a little steep (when I've seen it advertised). So my only recording is a theme included on the Arena Concerto album.

This and the excepts you and plindboe have linked are very nice but do not inspire me to spend a fortune on buying the score ... a re-release would be welcome, nonetheless.


It's one of the few scores that really is worth a fortune though. It's one of his very best, certainly in my top10 of favourite Morricone scores evah.

If you're not convinced, the youtube user Morricone1 has uploaded it all on youtube; so I recommend giving all the tracks a listen.

Peter smile

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2020 - 5:26 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

This one came up for discussion in the zoom on sunday.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2020 - 6:56 AM   
 By:   David Anthony   (Member)

This is indeed a score that deserves to get an expanded release. The series was quite long, and I recall seeing some extracts from it where there were different versions of the gorgeous main theme for example. However, unfortunately I do not believe that the Italian publishing house (Fonit Cetra) has been cooperative regarding the rights, hence we have not seen this come out since 1989 when first issued. The concern is whether the tapes are deteriorating, as was the case with the additional MARCO POLO music, if indeed they exist anymore. I am not sure if Stefan Schlegel is reading and can offer any information.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2020 - 7:46 AM   
 By:   Damian   (Member)

One of my all time favourites. Lots of variety. And that viola in the opening track. Glorious.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2020 - 8:12 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

Referring to this as "Golden Age" is confusing since it was made in 1989 (which has to be researched since it's not mentioned in the description), not 1930-1960s.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2020 - 8:31 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

This is indeed a score that deserves to get an expanded release. The concern is whether the tapes are deteriorating, as was the case with the additional MARCO POLO music, if indeed they exist anymore. I am not sure if Stefan Schlegel is reading and can offer any information.

I PROMESSI SPOSI is also one of my favourite scores by Morricone and I am glad that I bought the CD when it came out in 1989. But I doubt that in the near future there will be a reissue of this nowadays hard to find disc, let alone an expanded version of it. The rights belong to the Italian TV company RAI - and RAI has lost all interest in releasing soundtracks already several years ago. During the early 2000s they did indeed release many of their TV scores from that time on the RAI Trade label. But more than 10 years ago this suddenly stopped as such CD releases didn´t pay off for them anymore and they also weren´t willing to license titles to other soundtrack labels. The Italian labels usually don´t work together with RAI at all. And I suppose nobody knows in what condition the tapes - if they still exist - are now.
Another Morricone score which has not been released due to all these facts is for example MI RICORDO ANNA FRANK from 2009. No label has been able to publish this score during all the last years as RAI just isn´t cooperative.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2020 - 9:36 AM   
 By:   JamesSouthall   (Member)

This is one of my favourites by Morricone. It is a shame it is now so hard to find and that a re-release seems unlikely because it really deserves a wider audience. I'd probably put it in my Morricone top 5.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2020 - 2:07 PM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

It is a shame Stefan that this has been the case with Rai for so long. Due to ennio's massive popularity in italy and with his recent passing, is it possible someone at Rai might be encouraged to change their stance? Senior people dont stay forever also.

 
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