Baaria/Morricone

September 16, 2010

Giuseppe Tornatore/Ennio Morricone has been a collaboration that began in 1988 with the film Cinema Paradiso and has continued with such films as The Starmaker, Legend of 1900, and Malena. Their latest film Baaria, slang for the town of Bagheria, is an autobiographical account of where Tornatore grew up in Sicily spanning three generations. Tornatore who had not made a film for five years spent 30 million dollars, wrote the screenplay, and features many of the top stars of Italy shot in beautiful locations with breathtaking scenery all the ingredients for a box office blockbuster. To most this film has been a major disappointment as somehow Giuseppe drifted away from his template of success. It was nominated for a Golden Globe and premiered at the Palm Springs Film Festival in January 2010 in the United States.

In the 60’s it seemed like Morricone was putting out a score a month. His partnering with Sergio Leone and the spaghetti westerns were classic must have material for any soundtrack collector. However, being in his 80’s now has slowed the maestro down a little bit and it has been nearly five years since he had done a score. Overall, he has shown that he hasn’t lost his touch and has composed a nice 50+ minutes of material that is a charming stand alone listen. I’ve not seen the film so I can’t comment on how it works in the film.

The nearly eleven minute “Sinfonia per Baaria” opens the CD and it is arranged concert style offering many of the themes, moods, tempos, and styles in the film. It is all quite pleasant from the opening majestic romantic strings quickly changing into an eerie spaghetti western theme complete with harmonica followed by chanting and his haunting Saxes, a sound he has used over the years. It is quite touching and moving until the dialogue I assume from the cast is dubbed into the suite. This I found quite disturbing especially given the fact that I don’t understand Italian and really don’t care to listen to birds chirping, roosters crowing, and the sound of the surf and wind in my soundtracks. “Ribellione” and “La Visita” are the same theme with different variations. I like the constant pounding of the timpani in this March style track with a strong brass fanfare. “Baaria,” the main theme, is performed with elegiac organ and strings. It is also appears in “il corpo e la terra,” and a marching band version in “Baaria,” track thirteen. “Verdiano” is a giveaway title for an opening classical sounding overture to the beginning of an opera. The nice thing about listening to this soundtrack is that it is so varied. Morricone makes use of a bagpipe, tenor tuba, oboe, classical guitar, and bassoon which all make for an interesting listening experience of 50 minutes.

This Silva (SILCD 1322) is the same release as the Italian label Image Music 0201482IMA from September of 2009. It is nicely recorded and orchestrated and a welcome addition to any Morricone library or admirer of the film. Good release other than the sound effects and dialogue in the first track.

Silva CD# SILCD 1322

Track listing

1. Sinfonia per Baaria (10:59)

2. Ribellione (03:32)

3. Baaria (02:27)

4. Il corpo e la terra (02:35)

5. Lo zoppo (00:59)

6. Brindisi (03:02)

7. Un gioco sereno (02:16)

8. La visita (02:47)

9. Un fiscaletto (01:28)

10. Racconto di una vita (03:27)

11. La terra (01:51)

12. Verdiano (01:48)

13. Baaria (03:11)

14. Oltre (01:15)

15. Prima e dopo (02:25)

16. I mostri (01:58)

17. L’allegro virtuoso di zampogna (02:23)

18. A passeggio nel corso (02:50)

19. Il vento, il mare, i silenzi (02:23)

Total Duration: 00:53:36

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