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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

CD REVIEWS - Hang 'em High/The Aviator + La Ragazzina

Hang 'em High/ The Aviator
Music by Dominic Frontiere
La- la Land Records LLLCD 1053 (US)
31 Tracks 78:55 mins

La-La Land Records continue their celebration of the work of Dominic Frontiere with the CD reissue of two albums for very different filsm from different decades.
First up is Clint Eastwood's first Hollywood western following his triumph in the Sergio Leone "Dollars" trilogy, Hang 'em High. For the score the powers that be were looking for a similar approach to that taken by Ennio Morricone, so Frontiere duly came up with a galloping main theme, featuring harmonica, guitar and orchestra. This theme is reprised straight, or in dramatic or more low-key variations throughout the ten album tracks. There is also a gorgeous stringed love theme for "Rachel" that appears on a couple of occasions. It's great to have this enjoyable score available once more.
The second featured score is for the 1985 romantic adventure The Aviator, which starred Christopher Reeve and Rosanna Arquette, and which again boasts a couple of fine themes, the first giving a soaring treatment in the opening number of the 19 tracks presented here. It's a real old fashioned, overblown Hollywood theme that harks back to the Golden Age scoring styles. The love theme, which is actually given its best treatment in the bonus previously unreleased cue "The Cabin," appears derived from the main theme and is as goregeous as that composed for Hang 'em High. Much of the rest of the score features a deal of suspense and action, with a menacing motif for the wolf pack that threaten our stranded pair.
But these aren't the only two scores featured on this generous disc. As an extra bonus, two cues are included for the 1970 western Barquero which, like Hang 'em High was made in the style of the "spaghetti westerns." The "Main Title" theme is a splendid percussive theme, with a trumpet deguello interlude. The second cue is "The Big Chase," which is in very good mono sound, and again features the main theme in fine action style.
Accompanying the disc is a colourful booklet, featuring stills and artwork from the films, together with Randall D. Larson's splendid notes, which incorporate quotes from the composer.

La Ragazzina
Music by Nico Fidenco
Digitmovies CDDM087 (Italy)
15 Tracks 34:33 mins

A promotional LP of Nico Fidenco's score for this 1974 erotic drama was released by CAM at the time and is very, very hard to find, so we can be very pleased that Digitmovies has put out this CD, which features some very pleasant music, a lot of which is typical dance style of the period, often featuring the now dated sound of the moog synthesizer, but the composer's main theme also appears a few times, beginning with the opening title track, where it is revealed as a fast waltz with a strong Mediterranean feel, Alessandro Alessandroni finishing it up with his distinctive whistling. It next appears in "The Past" as a slow, organ-lead arrangement; then in the halting "Minica's Love," where it opens on the flute. There's a disco variation in "Monica's Dance," and Alessandroni returns with something of a whistled improv in "Monica's Mirror. Finally, "Monica's Beach" finds the theme in rhythmic mode.
Fidenco's secondary theme is first heard as a beat-driven piece of erotica in "Sandra's Dream" and then features in an uptempo arrangement, with erotic vocals by Edda Dell'Orso in "Sandra. It's third appearance is the seductive "Sandra in Love."
As always, a colourful booklet accompanies the disc, with stills and artwork from the film, plus Claudio Fuiano & Pierluigi Valentini's introductory notes.


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