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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

CD REVIEW - Ennio Morricone - The Man and his Music

Ennio Morricone - The Man and his Music
Warner Classics 5101 12304-2
Disc 1 - 16 Tracks 55:39 mins Disc 2 - 14 Tracks 49:23 mins

This 2 CDs for the price of 1 release is a strange animal. The first disc features the composer conducting largely concert arrangements of some of his many film themes, which are in some cases performed by orchestra, whilst at others just featuring piano, flute, cello and viola, or combinations of these. There's nothing wrong with these performances. In fact they make for quite delightful listening, and it's nice to hear lesser known compositions like L'Eredita Ferramonti, Metti Una Sera a Cena, Il Prato, Per Le Antiche Scale and Gott mit uns, alongside familiar favourites like Once Upon a Time in the West, the Mission, Once Upon a time in America and Cinema Paradiso, but I doubt they will appeal to serious film music collectors, and the many Morricone fans out there will doubtless have the originals.
Disc 2 features pianist Gilda Butta, who also plays on disc 1, initially performing piano versions of more film themes, though actually repeating some tracks from disc 1, which seems somewhat pointless when other material could have been included. The final 4 tracks feature the concert works Four Etudes for Piano and Rag in Frantumi, which to anyone with a melodic bone in their body will find unlistenable like me. The accompanying booklet provides an overview of the composer and his works.
In conclusion, I would recommend disc 1 as a very pleasant listening experience, but cannot say the same for disc 2, which left me cold. Doubtless however, die-hard Morricone fans will seek this collection out, as some of them simply have to have everything ever recorded by their hero; and I suppose some classical music listeners might like to dip their toes into Moricone's creative waters, if only to see what all the fuss is about.


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