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Thursday, February 01, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Christmas That Almost Wasn't & News from Costa Communications

The Christmas That Almost Wasn't
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Digitmovies CDDM073 (Italy)
29 Tracks 56:17 mins

Digitmovies celebrated Christmas by releasing this charming little score by Bruno Nicolai for a comedy from 1966, directed by and starring Rossano Brazzi, which sees him as a mean-spirited man who plans to kidnap Santa Claus.
There was a soundtrack LP at the time of the film's release, but this only contained songs, but here we have the complete score in fine stereo sound.
The album commences with "Marionette," a very '60s sounding comedy march, which reminds me somewhat of the theme for the popular U.S. TV show of the time, The Munsters. Another quite pompous comic march makes its appearance in "Un Problema D'Affitto," and reappears throughout the score, often voiced by bassoon. The remainder of the score is filled with wonderful melodic music, sometimes comical, at others light and gay, with plenty of hummable tunes on display. There's a little sneakiness and supsense here and there, but the mood is overwhelmingly upbeat. Tracks I particularly like are the jolly "I Nani," "Via Col Vento," a splendid waltz, and the warm and happy ending "L'Avvocato Bambino. "Marionette" returns in a shorter version to bring things nicely to a close.
Accompanied by the usual colourful booklet, filled with stills and artwork from the film, as well as notes by Claudio Fuiano, you might like to pick up a copy whilst the Christmas spirit still lingers.
Keep an eye on the website at for news of forthcoming releases. Details of the February titles can be seen there, and I'm particularly looking forward to the wonderful presentation of Miklos Rozsa's great score for Sodom and Gomorrah dropping through my door. This enterprising label never disappoints.

Although regular visitors to the site will have read my review last month, I nevertheless include the following for your information:-

From Costa Communications



(Hollywood, CA) Film composer Javier Navarrete has received his first Oscar nomination for his score to Picturehouse's "Pan's Labyrinth" (aka "El Laberinto del Fauno"). "Pan's Labyrinth" began screening in theaters in December and today is found on over 130 critics' Top Ten lists. Directed by Guillermo del Toro ("Hell Boy," "Mimic"), "Pan's Labyrinth" marks the director's second collaboration with Javier Navarrete. The film unfolds through the eyes of Ofelia, a dreamy little girl who is uprooted to a rural military outpost commanded by her new stepfather. Ofelia lives out her own dark fable as she confronts monsters both otherworldly and human. Spanish composer, Javier Navarrete brings the music of Pan's Labyrinth alive. His score captures the fantastical mood of the film - a fairy tale fantasy for adults, set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War - with all of the tension and imagination of this rich, layered film. The score album is available on Milan Records. The 79th Annual Academy Awards will be announced February 25.

A native of Spain, Navarrete's relationship scoring with "Pan's Labyrinth" director Guillermo Del Toro began with the feature "The Devil's Backbone." Navarrete's talents span a wide range of genres, instruments, mediums and geographic locations. His performed music includes early electronic music in duet with friend and fellow Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias and collaborations with the British band, Dead Can Dance, featuring film composer Lisa Gerrard . Navarrete has a collection of arias based on the Latin poem "Ovidius Metamorphose" performed by Mezzo Claudia Schnneider. He has also collaborated with punk legend Iggy Pop in the music of Oscar Aibar's "Atolladero."


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