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So many Italian westerns and so many releases from Italy where do we start. Well I suppose we could start with REQUIESCANT or KILL AND PRAY by Riz Ortolani, which also includes music from another Ortolani western O CANGACEIRO I have seen REQUIESCANT but the other title which I am told starred Tomas Milian is something of a mystery to me and not a western but set in South America. The music for both of these movies is in a word average, I sometimes cannot understand why record companies bother to release the entire scores from movies such as these. Surely a compilation would suffice of themes or principal musical passages etc from each film, like UA records used to do back in the 1970,s with GREAT WESTERN THEMES, GREAT WAR FILM THEMES etc etc etc,,,, these sold well and also gave collectors an idea of what the music was like from certain films. In my opinion if you going to release Ortolani westerns then maybe THE HUNTING PARTY and CIAKMULL should be at the top of the list, that’s of course if the tapes exist. REQUIESCANT is a score that certainly does not match the at times violent imagery of the movie, but I have said it before Ortolani was just too romantic sounding when it came to scoring westerns from Italy, yes granted DAY OF ANGER and THE HUNTING PARTY are exceptions to this rule but THE HUNTING PARTY was actually a British western in theory. The score for REQUIESCANT has just one main or central theme which to be honest is not that interesting or original, it is basically an electric guitar rift that begins well and one is waiting for a big theme to kick in after it is introduced by the guitar, but then that’s it nothing it goes nowhere but back into itself on repeat but the composer never develops it into any more substantial. There are also a number of Mexican sounding pieces on the score, which after hearing two or three getting pretty annoying, so REQUIESCANT is not really a score that I would add to my collection. O GANGACEIRO also is pretty ordinary nothing major here in the way of thematic material again nothing original or groundbreaking. Record labels have to realise that collectors now will not just buy a score because its from a spaghetti western or a film that is similar to a western, if they are going to even consider it, it has to be at least fifty percent listenable or interesting. The only plus about this release are the excellent notes by author Laurence Staig (Opera of violence author). It’s a pity because the compact disc is presented well by PENTAMUSIC (who are a British label I understand) but it’s the music that lets it down, so what is the point of buying it.

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I have always maintained that Movie Score Media is one of the very few soundtracks labels in recent years that actually listens to collectors and their customers when it comes to releasing film scores. THE DRIFT is one such case, again MSM have listened and deliberated and then released a score that collectors have actually asked for. This can only be a good and positive thing for both collector and label. THE DRIFT is the first feature film score for composer James Griffiths, and I for one know that it will not be his last. This is a powerful work which for me evokes the scoring process and styles of the 1970,s when composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein and John Williams were just three of the big names within the industry that were producing theme filled works more or less on a daily basis. THE DRIFT soundtrack for me is a delight because it contains real themes that are not just hinted at or subtly purveyed but are fully developed and expanded upon giving us a chance to savour the full and stirring effect of the composers highly addictive and infectious style. There is a liberal use of brass flourishes and strings within the work that convey a sense of danger and menace within many of the cues on the compact disc, but these action fuelled compositions are interspersed and punctuated by compositions that are simple and enchanting with the composer bringing into the equation a low key but extremely pretty and effective piano solo at certain points that brings a calmness and serenity to the proceedings. The darkness and the light of the score can be heard early on in the soundtrack with the OPENING cue beginning with a threatening and rather ominous sounding low brass sound underlined by strings, which after just a few moments transforms into a beguiling and hauntingly beautiful piece performed by a lilting piano solo that is underlined by enchanting ethereal strings which would not be out of place in the end sequence of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, dark sounding brass bolstered by percussion and electronic support raises its head momentarily to interrupt the almost celestial sounding strings, but these soon fade away and we are returned to the calmness and serene atmosphere created by the strings and delicate piano.

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Track number two, HELPLESS MASSACRE is a very different composition, it begins slowly and quietly but the quiet is soon transformed into a dark and powerful piece with the composer introducing an onslaught of percussive elements that are enhanced by ferocious and rasping brass stabs with urgent strings further supporting and adding a sense of menace to the composition, slicing strings punctuate the cue adding a searing and foreboding edge to it. Track number three THE DESCENT too is filled with an urgency created by percussion and again the composer enlists the aid of driving strings and brass to create a fearsome and powerful composition.

Track number four GRAVEYARD is the shortest cue on the release clocking in at just 31 seconds but it is an effecting piece and contains the piano motif that is underlined by darker elements. Track number five, THE APPROACH SUITE is one of my personal favourites from the score it is filled with drama and becomes a powerhouse piece with the composer adding more percussion driving low strings and brass, at times it evoked memories of John Williams IMPERIAL MARCH but just fleetingly giving the cue an air of dread and greater urgency. To analyse the score further I think would be a mistake as I am sure you would like to discover its many attributes for yourself, it is an accomplished and wonderfully written work, it is filled with drama and has to it a commanding and potent atmosphere which is embellished by a number of quieter interludes which are stunningly attractive and haunting. The compact disc also contains music from another score by James Griffith entitled DARKWAVE:EDGE OF THE STORM which is an equally compelling listen, the composer adding choral sounds to heighten the tension and create an apprehensive atmosphere, maybe there are not as many big action pieces within this score, but the soprano voice (shades of Morricone) and addition of voices within the duration are welcome and create a score that is melodious as well as powerful the use of solo violin to brings to the work a more intimate sound that is filled with melancholy and fragility, do not miss this release, highly recommended.

The Drift / Darkwave: Edge of the Storm (James Griffiths)



When you have been collecting film music for a few years now like I have it sometimes becomes difficult to get to listen to certain scores, they always get ignored or even forgotten amongst the thousands of others that one has acquired over the years. The other day I was having a good tidy and inevitably came across certain magazines, books and cds that I had not seen in what seemed like an age. The third folder I opened had on its first five sections five CDS which were by Australian composer Bruce Rowland, now this is a composer I certainly do not listen to enough and as soon as I put on the first CD THE FILM AND TELEVISION MUSIC OF BRUCE ROWLIAND memories of hearing his haunting and full themed compositions came flooding back, also I re discovered the brilliantly rhythmic and heart-warningly melodic scores for PHAR LAP, THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER, ZUES AND ROXANNE, ANDRE and THE RETURN TO SNOWY RIVER PART 2.


All five compacts disc simply ooze luscious and lavishly tuneful compositions, some of which are fully symphonic and grand others being less grandiose and simple and containing an almost pop orientated style and sound. By far I think that his score for PHAR LAP is his finest, filled to overflowing with so many themes and motifs that it is at times difficult to take in that all these are from one score, the composer certainly must have been inspired by the subject matter, but then films with animals as their main focus are inspirational and emotional most of the time. PHAR LAP being a true account of the heroic race horse is a prime example of image and music working perfectly in unison.


Rowland’s anthem like music accompanying the creature through the trials and tribulations that it endured to come out of it the hero to a nation during the 1930,s. There is no doubt that the movie is an excellent piece of cinema but it is greatly aided by Rowland’s beautifully emotive and wonderfully melodious music. The compilation of Film and TV music includes four cues from the score and also has in its running time selections from THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER, ALL THE RIVERS RUN, NOW AND FOREVER and RETURN TO SNOWY RIVER and is a worthy edition to any soundtrack collection, of course it is hard to find and was issued on the much missed BAY CITIES label back in 1990 with short but interesting notes by Mr Nick Redman. The soundtrack to PHAR LAP was released on CD by Percepto records as a promo in 2001 but it had been available on LP previously during the 1980,s, the soundtrack was awarded best music score in 1983 by The Australian film institute, the CD release also included music from the composers score to ZEUS AND ROXANNE which is another fine example from Rowland on how to tug on a cinema audiences heart strings with melancholy and fragile sounding tone poems that manage to invade and effect the listeners emotions and leave a lasting mark.

THE MAN FROM SNOWY river was also issued on long playing record but was re-issued onto compact disc by VARESE SARABANDE in 1982. This is was a milestone work for the composer and showcases his of composing prowess and ability to create lavish but at the same time intimate themes, again like PHAR LAP it is filled to the brim with highly melodious thematic material and was awarded best music score for 1982 by the Australian film institute. THE RETURN TO SNOWY RIVER was also released on CD by Varese, and it too has become a much sought after item among collectors of film music.


Rowland’s music for ANDRE another wildlife true story weepy was issued on MILAN records. Rowland was born on May 9th 1942 in Melbourne Australia where he began to study piano, whilst he studied and entered his teenage years he began to play in various bands and soon became a much sought after session musician. He began writing music for the TV in the 1960,s and worked as musical director on a teenage programme entitled THE GO SHOW, where he would often perform keyboards and work on arrangements for the likes of Olivia Newton-John and Mick Jagger.


Rowland and the group THE STRANGERS often worked as backing musicians to many high profile artists during the 1960,s at times touring with PAUL AND PAULA, ROY ORBISON and THE BEACH BOYS. In the mid to late 1960,s the composer began to work regularly writing the music for two popular children’s TV shows, ADVENTURE ISLAND and THE MAGIC CIRCLE CLUB. The schedule on these shows was quite demanding and often he would have to provide a dozen or more songs/compositions per week. He began working on the shows in the summer of 1964 and stayed there till 1969.


It was at this time that the composer began to move into the area of commercials and penned at least 2000 jingles for both TV and radio. It was not until the 1980,s that Rowland began to score films more regularly and the rest as they say is history. The 1980,s were a particularly busy period for the composer it was in 1984 that he won a Penguin award for his work on the television series ALL THE RIVER RUN and at this time was also commissioned to provide the opening music for the Olympics which were aired by Australia’s Network 10 channel.


In 1985 the composer was awarded the AFI award for THE REBEL and three years later was asked to provide the opening fanfare for Expo 88. He remained busy during the 1990’s both in TV and cinema and wrote the music for projects such as LIGHTNING JACK for filmmaker Simon Wincer, JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH and the aforementioned ANDRE and ZEUS AND ROXANNE with director George Miller. He now divides his time between Melbourne and Los Angeles continuing to write music for film and TV.


KATTENOOG-Sleeve notes.

Sleeve notes for the up and coming CD release of the music from KATTENOOG. On KRONOS RECORDS.



Music for television is often looked upon as something that I at times refer to as film music’s neglected sister. I say this because there seemed to be a lot of snobbery amongst a number of film music collectors when it came to music for TV. I am glad to say that in recent years this snobbery or ignorance from collectors has ceased and TV scores are now regarded with much respect and held in high esteem by collectors and critics alike. In fact Television music can at times be as grand or even plusher and more complex than certain film soundtracks these days and I am of the opinion that a composer who works in television probably has a harder task establishing themes etc simply because of the time scale and at times the budget that is involved. This in my opinion is the case for the music to KATTENOOG, it is an accomplished work and contains numerous themes and sub themes all of which combine to create a pulsating and highly atmospheric musical score, which enhances, punctuates and supports the various story-lines and images appearing on the small screen. Composer Joris Hermy has created a tantalizing and infectious collection of themes for the series, each and everyone varying in sound and even having a differing style but at the same time the composer manages to make them become compatible with one another, each segment or motif complimenting the other with hints of themes being incorporated into others thus elevating these so that within the context of the series there is musical presence and consistency that adds depth, mood and atmospherics to the proceedings. With the genre of horror or science fiction, music is especially important it is the unseen actor or scenario that heralds that moment of dread or fear and it is usually the music that scares the watching audience well in advance of anything fearful or sinister happening on screen and although I would say that KATTENOOG is not a truly horrific experience but more of an exciting one, it is series which contains story-lines that have numerous twists and turns that do fit firmly within the category of horror that include episodes with Water Monsters, a Magical stone, Witches, Vampires and Zombies. The score is filled with a musical atmosphere and sound that is thrilling and heroic plus there is a menacing air of apprehension and tension which is perfect for the various scenarios and characters within the series. KATTENOOG is more of a mystery or sci-fi/horror experience and this too is reflected within the strong musical score, as it can be uneasy and anxious, then at other points becomes contemporary, melancholy and even upbeat with an edgy but melodic style.


I spoke with the composer Joris Hermy about KATTENOOG.


How did you become involved in writing the music for KATTENOOG?

I have worked with Douglas (The Director) before, so I guess it was a matter of time before we would collaborate on a project like this. Although it’s not only up to the director to decide who will be scoring a certain project, although our previous collaborations certainly helped I think. After our initial chat about this possible collaboration, I started out writing a lot of demo’s to find the right sounds & themes although I was not officially attached to this project yet. The further into the process of brainstorming & creation, the more Douglas and I were convinced I would be the right guy for the job. The only thing left was to convince the production company to choose me as their composer, which they luckily did!
What size orchestra did you use for the score and what percentage of the instrumentation was synthetic?As often with television work there is little to no budget for live recordings. So basically it was me, myself and I. I did insist on having a Soprano singing the melody in the ‚Opening Sequence’ since the Main Theme is a crucial part of the series and the audience will here it every time a new episode starts. I also knew that the Main Theme would reprise on key moments through the series so I could quote this beautiful Soprano performance to it’s maximum effect. Along the way I wrote a couple of cues for important moments that – for me – would benefit from live musicians. Fortunately the producers understood the value of these additional recordings which was a lucky break for me of course. Nothing really beats talented musicians performing the music.


I understand that you wrote over 350 minutes of music for the series, When working on the project did you ever recycle any cues as re-use certain pieces from previous episodes and place them in other episodes?

The total amount of music I wrote must be close to 350 minutes of original composed music yes. If I had known that in advance I’m not sure how I would have responded really since that is a LOT of music. But once you start working, you just keep on going until the work is done. There isn’t any other way. It did help that the score is very melodic driven score, so I could use the main themes for the main characters and quote their theme whenever they appear in the story. It’s important I think to have these kind of melodic hooks that holds it all together musically and add a sense of natural continuity of the story. Maybe recycling isn’t the best word to describe it but yes I would need to adapt the themes, make variations, adjust tempo & scale of instrumentation of these main musical ideas to fit the images as good as possible.


When you were offered the assignment, did the director/producers have any specific ideas or instructions concerning the style of music or where the music should be placed?

Well, let’s say they had a pretty clear idea of what they didn’t want which was a good place to start for me. Since this sort of dark and mystical story for kids hasn’t been done that often before, it gave us the opportunity to bring something new, something fresh, yet recognizable. I think the most important focus was to treat this mainly younger audience as grown ups more than children, so the music had to reflect this as well. You will notice that I wrote quite some dark, ominous and dramatic music at times, but never to the extend that it would scare them beyond their darkest nightmares. I think it’s quite balanced throughout since I also wrote a fair amount of innocent, goofy and fun music as well. It’s always a matter of finding that balance I think. As for style; Douglas and I discussed the possibilities extensively after which I would work on a couple of ideas and present them for feedback. It was an ongoing process of trial and error really. Certain elements – like adding a 80ies retro flair to the sound and yet sound contemporary – were clear from the beginning, while others – like for instance the more dramatic moments – weren’t that defined in this phase of the process. By the time I had the locked footage, I could start scoring to picture with an arsenal of approved themes which made it possible to write such an amount of music in only 10 weeks or so. As for spotting the music; that was usually up to me but after a couple of meetings I knew they liked a lot of it so it was very much ‚wall to wall’ scoring. Sometimes I would double-check certain tricky scenes with Nico Nieuwdorp – who did the final mixing – to decide if it would be stronger not to add music at all. It’s always convenient to have someone around that has a fresh couple of ears.


Do you think that scoring a TV series is maybe more difficult than working on a feature film or a one off TV project?

Both have their challenges I think. Although the approach might be different, the result in my opinion is very similar. Both should enhance the images and support the story as good as they can. But it’s the way of composing that is different to me. For film you need to find the key moment from where to start. It’s not necessarily at the beginning of the film. Composing for television is more linear perhaps, since work starts usually with the Opening Credits from which more ideas emerge for things that will happen along the way. With television you also have more characters- sometimes with their own story lines. This gives you a lot of possibilities as a composer musically and often gives you the ability to write in a variation of styles. I like this diversity actually and it helps to give the series it’s own unique and recognizable voice.

Did you have any involvement in selecting the music for this Kronos Records release?

Absolutely. Mr. Godwin Borg gave me total freedom as regarding to the music I would select, and the order I would put it in. I have spent a lot of time after the project was finished to select, mix, re-edit the music to give it the best possible representation on the album. It’s always a bit ‚killing your darlings’ but in the end less should be more and that was what I was hoping for. I can honestly say that I’m very happy with the final result and I hope the listeners will enjoy it as much as I did creating the score for this wonderful project.

The composer has successfully established a musical persona or personality for the series and has also been equally triumphant in fashioning outstanding themes for its story lines and most prominent or key characters. The opening theme hooks the listener immediately its fairly up tempo beat acting as a background to a wistful and haunting melody that establishes itself quickly with a Soprano voice entering the equation grabbing one’s attention and setting the scene wholly for what is to follow. It is one of those opening themes that makes a statement and leaves the listener wanting more, in fact its got the Jerry Goldsmith TV theme procedure written all over it, by this I mean it has an infectious sound that when heard anywhere in the home will call people to the TV to sit and watch the show, which is how it should work.


The series is set in Kattenoog, a charming and relatively quiet little village or so we think initially which sits on the edge of a mysterious lake. For many years, the village has been in thrall to the legend of a magic stone that attracts witches, vampires, Zombies and ghosts. To protect Kattenoog’s inhabitants, the Mystery Club was founded a long time ago; Eli, Robin and Simone all dream of becoming members. But that dream won’t come to fruition without a challenging and dangerous adventure. The legend has also caught the attention of Max, Boris and Daphne of Booh-TV, an online channel specialising in unusual and scary stories and myths. They decide to go to the village to see what they can find out about the Legend and the unusual occurrences in KATTENOOG. They soon discover the secret of the Magic Stone at the centre of all the the weird goings on. The series is written by Anjali Taneja who also was responsible for writing THE HOUSE OF ANUBIS, Directed by Douglas Boswell the series is produced by Santeboetiek-Het Konijn and Goed Verhaal for VTMKZOOMand RTL Telekids.

Sleeve notes for the soon to be released RIPLEYS GAME soundtrack on KRONOS RECORDS.


To say that composer Ennio Morricone is talented and innovative is something of an understatement and when writing about him it is often difficult to find the words to describe his creativity, longevity and genius, at times when describing an artist, a composer or a writer critics and followers of the individual very often use the word genius lightly, in the case of Ennio Morricone this word is applicable in every sense. The Maestro, has written a plethora of film scores all of which have become classics in their own right, whether they be for large scale productions or lower budget affairs, the reason for them attaining this status is simply because of their originality and alluring musical content, the sound as created by Morricone is one that is individual to him and him alone, yes it has been imitated and many of his themes and at times entire scores have been covered by other recording artists, but there is certainly nothing like the originals. Morricone is without any doubt the most prolific composer of film scores from both the 20th and thus far 21st Century. His music has supported, underlined, punctuated and ingratiated hundreds of motion pictures and television productions which range from romantic tales to comedic escapades and include touching stories that are filled with emotion, dramatic tales of war and heroism, gangster and police thrillers and politically slanted movies. It is probably true to say that the Maestro became noticed mainly via his scores for westerns that were produced by Italian film makers, but it is surprising that the western scores he has written occupy just a small section amongst his staggering musical output. The composer has also written extensively for the concert hall as in his ballet REQUIEM DI DESTINO which was well received and also his composition SUONI PER DINO which reached the finals in the Festival of Contemporary Music in Venice in 1969, he has also applied his own particular sound and style on recordings for well known vocalists such as MINA giving her and others a distinct and lasting musical accompaniment. Ennio Morricone was born in the Trastevere district of Rome on November 10th 1928, his Father Mario was a trumpet player and he would perform in an orchestra at times whilst the family were on holiday in Riccione. He would also work in nightclubs and later performed on film soundtracks. The young Morricone attended the Salesian school in Trastevere which is where he first came into contact with one of his class members a certain Sergio Leone, who of course he went onto work alongside on numerous movies striking up a special friendship with the film maker.

The collaboration between Morricone and Leone is now looked upon by many as one of, if not the most important one in Cinema history, the way in which Morricone scored the films of Leone was itself inspiring, groundbreaking and innovative. At times the composer writing the music before the cameras had even started to roll, with Leone either explaining to the composer how he could see the scene developing and the film maker then shooting a scene to fit the music rather than the music being tailored to support the scene. This was probably more evident in movies such as ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA and THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, the composers music becoming an extension of the characters on screen and also integrating fully with the storyline or scenario that was unfolding on screen, creating new levels of expression and greater depth and dimension to each and every frame of film. Morricone studied at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia where he obtained a diploma in trumpet, composition, music direction and choral work. He studied under composer/tutor Godffredo Petrassi and initially had set his sights on being what can be called a composer of serious music, as in music for concert hall performance, he began to compose music from an early age, his first credited piece being IL MATTINO PER PIANO E VOCE in 1946, the young composer concentrated and focused predominately of this type of music until 1961, it is then that he scored his first Television project ALLA SCOPERTA DELL AMERICA which was directed by Sergio Giordani, after this his musical talents were soon in demand for the Cinema with directors such as Luciano Siace engaging him for films such as IL FEDERALE, LA CUCCAGNA, LA VOGLIA MATTA and LA MONACHINE in the early part of the 1960,s. From here Morricone went onto collaborate with Sergio Leone, Sergio Sollima, Sergio Corbucci, Dino Risi, Lucio Fulci, Duccio Tessari, Gillo Pontecorvo, Bernardo Bertolucci, Oliver Stone, Giuseppe Tornatore, Warren Beatty, Dario Argento, Quentin Tarantino and numerous other talented directors. The Maestro Created music that would leave a lasting impression upon cinema audiences the world over and would also influence and inspire hundreds of younger composers and musicians. It is amazing that Morricone is still composing today in 2016 and what is even more amazing is that this titan of music for the cinema has recently won a long overdue Oscar for his atmospheric score to THE HATEFUL EIGHT, the composer also picking up the BAFTA and a Golden Globe for his work on the movie. The music of Ennio Morricone is wonderfully melodic, marvellously intricate and fragile, at times complex and diverse, powerfully dramatic, deeply moving and undoubtedly original. Once heard it is never forgotten.


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By the time Ennio Morricone came to score RIPLEYS GAME in 2002 the composer was a seasoned film music composer who had already written hundreds of scores for varying genres of motion pictures. The movie was based on the third book in trilogy of novels entitled RIPLIAD written by Patricia Highsmith. Set in France, Germany and Italy, RIPLEYS GAME is a classy, smooth and sophisticated thriller which focuses upon art connoisseur and harpsichord expert Tom Ripley who also happens to be a master of improvisational homicide and a con artist. Ripley is portrayed convincingly by actor John Malkovich who is supported ably by fellow actors Dougray Scott and Ray Winstone. Ripley, with the help of British gangster Reeves (Winstone) becomes involved in an art scam in Berlin.

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Reeves is told by Ripley to stay outside whilst he goes into a building to do a deal with a client but things do not go to plan and Ripley resorts to killing this potential customer. He then gives the money that he has got from the now dead customer to Reeves, but at the same time keeps the piece of art work for himself telling Reeves that their partnership is dissolved, which is something that Reeves is not too pleased about. The story then skips three years forward and we see Ripley living a wealthy, privileged lifestyle in Italy living in a luxuriously opulent villa with his beautiful wife Luisa who is a harpsichordist. Ripley and his wife are invited to a party which they are enjoying until Ripley overhears the host Johnathan Trevanny (Scott) making remarks about him and his taste in art and also making references to Ripley’s somewhat shady past, the furious Ripley briefly confronts Trevanny but leaves the party with the matter unresolved. It is at this point the disagreeable Reeves character returns to the storyline asking Ripley for help in dispatching a rival. Ripley recommends that they use an amateur for the hit telling Reeves to offer it to Trevanny, Ripley knowing that Trevanny is suffering from leukaemia and needs money for his wife and family to keep them when he dies. At first Trevanny is surprised and horrified at the offer and turns down Reeves proposal, but then begins to think of the money and agrees to carry out the hit.

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Trevanny assumes that this will be the last time he has to have anything to do with the unsavoury Reeves but the gangster has other ideas and blackmails Trevanny into carrying out another assassination, this time however things do not go to plan and Trevanny looses his composure and is nearly killed himself until Ripley comes to his aid and helps to dispatch three mobsters on a train. Trevanny then forms an uneasy friendship with Ripley and returns to his wife and son telling his wife that the money has come from a hospice where he has undergone experimental treatment. The three murdered mobsters associates decide to pay a visit to Italy and attack Ripleys villa. They kill Reeves and throw his body in the boot of their car. However Ripley has anticipated their moves and has set traps for them and picks all of them off with the help of Trevanny who seems to have gotten a taste for killing. Trevanny returns to his home to find that the mobsters have sent henchmen to kidnap his wife and are holding her captive, but Ripley once again has managed to stay one step ahead of the game and after taking Trevanny home spots the mobsters cars in the undergrowth, he doubles back and in the nick of time manages to kill the henchman. One of the mobsters is only wounded and is about to shoot Ripley when Trevanny throws himself in front of the bullet and is fatally wounded. The movie is a captivating one and has an intelligent and consuming storyline, directed by filmmaker and screenwriter Liliana Cavani ( GALILEO,THE YEAR OF THE CANNIBALS, THE NIGHT PORTER, LA PELLE etc) it is a must see motion picture and stands up well to the test of time and one which I believe has matured and grown even more interesting with the passing of the years rivalling many of the more recent thrillers that have been released. The musical score incorporates harpsichord performances at certain points within its duration, the composer utilising the instrument to accompany the films central figure, it is also a score that is filled with drama and tension, the Maestro masterfully building the atmosphere throughout via his use of strings, brass, electric guitar, woodwind, piano, percussive elements and aforementioned harpsichord which are subtly enhanced by a sprinkling of electronic effects that fuse seamlessly with the conventional instruments of the orchestra to create a score that oozes tension and apprehension but also has at its core highly thematic and melodic material. As with any soundtrack penned by Morricone one is aware almost immediately that we are listening to the supremely innovative work of Il Maestro, a Master of his craft. There is that sound, that style and that individuality present that just says Ennio Morricone.

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The score features Morricone’s regular collaborator/performer Gilda Butta on piano and harpsichord, with the composer writing extensively for saxophone and also flicorno performed by Gianni Oddi and Cicci Santucci respectively, both instruments feature throughout the soundtrack and make lasting impressions upon the listener, creating either a mood of melancholy or indeed an apprehensive and threatening atmosphere. One of the highlights of the score is the music for the murders on the train which is split into two cues on the album, PRIMO TRENO AND SECONDO TRENO both cues establish almost straight away an air and atmosphere that is filled with tension and suspense, we hear dissonant brass that is punctuated and paced by an ominous sounding rhythmic background which at times evokes the sound that the composer realised on certain cues within his score for THE UNTOUCHABLES. The opening cue on the compact disc “IN CONCERTO” is actually the last piece of music that we hear in the movie, the harpsichord opens the proceedings and establishes the central melody of the composition, flicorno is added to the mix along with support from the string section which enhances and adds depth and further substance to the piece, the composition builds slowly but steadily as the composer fuses a jazz orientated style with that of baroque. As the piece gathers momentum the composer adds slightly harder sounding and imposing brass and introduces an electric guitar which although subdued adds much to the dramatic content of the movie and creates greater tension within the composition. With harpsichord all the time being the main stay of the cue forming its foundation and then becoming its core. There are a few pieces within the score that at times sound as if they could be improvised as in COLLAGE DE RIPLEY which has saxophone and flicorno in a duet performance underlined by short and harsh sounding violin strokes which are further supported by submissive percussion. There have been numerous re-issues of scores written by Ennio Morricone in recent years, this I have to say is one of the most welcome and worthwhile.


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