CD REVIEW - UN TRENO PER DURANGO
Un Treno Per Durango
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4129
24 Tracks 59:15 mins
One of three new Italian western releases from the GDM Hillside Series, this Carlo Rustichelli score for the 1968 comedy western Un Treno Per Durango was always going to have to go some to make me like it, as normally I can't abide comedy westerns or their scores.
The film hasn't come my way, but is actually regarded as one of the better comedy westerns of the time and certainly has a good cast, including Anthony Steffen and Mark Damon.
As for Rustichelli's score, the composer employed the services of I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni and Bruno Nicolai as conductor, and it's nowhere near as irritating as I feared, but in fact has plenty of good things going for it, and starts out amiably enough in "Il Bottino," before a pastiche of the William Tell Overture takes over. The main titles follow and feature a sumptuous and very infectious Mexican-flavoured theme, performed by orchestra and choir. The first example of irritating comedic music appears in the very next track, before the charming waltz-like love theme makes its first appearance, and continues under its own title "Valzer Nel West" into the next track, though subsequently transforms into a waltz variation on the main theme. I should say that both the main and love themes do crop up, in a variety of variations and moods, at fairly regular intervals throughout the score, particularly the former, but sometimes have to compete with Rustichelli's efforts at comedy, and of course the dreaded William Tell pastiche.
A surprisingly jazzy new theme is introduced in "Il Viaggio" which, whilst seemingly out of place, is nevertheless pretty catchy, and is given a raunchier version in "Sulle Tracce di Lobo." Another catchy new theme is the bouncy, bassoon-lead comedic march first introduced in "Attesa e Marcia" and continuing in variations in "Gringo e Lucas," before giving way to some galloping Mexican flavoured action music, which again continues into the next track, "Il Treno Core."
Another notable track is the easy-listening "Gringo e Helen," which features a romantic variation on the main theme, partly whistled by Alessandroni.
Of course the usual genre elements are present, some dark, suspense in the likes of "Piano Misterioso" and "Azione Drammatica;" a dramatic trumpet Deguello in "Recupero del Bottino;" and a source cue, a laid-back vocal refrain of the main theme in "Il Cantino."
The "Finale" reprises the comedy march, the jazz theme and the main theme to conclude the album in satisfying fashion.
At the end of the day, the more I listened to it, the more I warmed to this score, thanks to the number of strong themes Rustichelli employs throughout. Like the film, this is probably one of the better Italian comedy western efforts you're likely to come across.
Order your copy of this very limited release of just 500 copies from www.hillsidecd.co.uk.