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Monday, December 18, 2006

CD REVIEW - E Ridendo L'Uccise + a mention for Torchwood

Before proceeding to today's CD review, I would just like to make mention of the latest episode of the sci-fi series Torchwood, which aired on BBC Three last night, an episode which featured no monsters and no special effects, just solid acting and an involving storyline. In my opinion it was the best episode yet, and no little contribution was made by the music score, which was beautiful and poignant - some of the best TV music I have heard for a while. It was credited to Murray Gold and Ben Foster. Gold of course scored the first two series of the revitalised Doctor Who,a soundtrack album to which has just been released by Silva Screen Records, and which I hope to review for you soon. I don't know the dynamics of his partnership with Foster on Torchwood, but whatever, this was quality scoring and, along with the acting, direction and script moved me greatly. If, like me, you are a romantic, don't miss this episode of Torchwood when it airs again over the next week. And let's hope Silva Screen, or some other enterprising label, decide to issue a Torchwood compilation CD in the not too distant future.
So to the CD review:-

E Ridendo L'Uccise
Music by Ennio Morricone
Beat Records CDCR 73 Gold Serie (Italy)
19 Tracks 48:57 mins

Veteran directorFlorestano Vancini's latest film is set in the early 16th Century and follows a humble buffoon, who finds himself at the centre of four brothers' intense rivalry following the death of their father, Ercole I.
The music is by maestro Ennio Morricone, who has scored a good many historical films in his time and if you admire his style of composition for these films, it's a fair bet you'll enjoy this fine effort. He utilises flutes, harpsichord and both solo and choral vocal forces, along with orchestra, and provides plenty of enjoyable, melodic material, so that there is seldom a dull moment in the score, from the catchy main theme, first heard to its best advantage in track 2, where it is voiced by flutes and harpsichord, before developing into an uptempo theme for trumpet and strings; to the purposeful "Cannoni a Ferrara;" to the harpsichord duet, then a capella choir, taken up by flutes and harpsichords in "Alla Corte Degli Estensi." A capella choir returns to open "Canzonetta di Corte, before a flute-lead theme develops, which is subsequently taken up by stings. Next up is the lovely, bittersweet melody for "Dolce Donzella," which is followed by a gay piece of source dance music "Sull'aia si Danza." The melancholy "Seconda Canzone" follows, then the happy little mover "Si Divertivano a Ferrara." "Di Burla in Burla di Notte" ticks along suspensefully, followed by another vesion of the main theme "La Ferrara delle Burle," featuring solo female voice and choir. Another variation follows in "Grazia piu che Virtu," then the religious-styled choral "Tre Voci Sole." "Nella Casa delle P..." is a catchy little mover, followed by the dramatic drumming and dissonance of "Li Tagliavano a Pezzi." "Violenza e Massacro" is a mix of urgent strings and march-like, trumpet-lead music. Some light relief is then provided by the easy listening harpsichord and strings of "Alla Corte degli Estensi," before the score closes with "Grazia piu che Virtu," with female voice, and a flowing choral leading to a reprise of the main theme. As a coda, a brief rendition of the beautiful "Dolce Donzella" plays us out.
The disc is accompanied by a fine 20-page booklet, which features colour stills from in front and behind the camera and, in Italian and English, there are detailed notes about the film, as well as a note from both its director and composer.
As Morricone gets older it seems to me his melodic gift only increases, and this is another worthy addition to his recent, most excellent catalogue of scores.


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