Originally released way back in 1972 on LP, this Piero Umiliani score is more akin to the style normally employed by Italian composers such as Morricone and Nicolai. It has all the hallmarks of an Italian mini classic. The movie directed by Italian filmmaker Mario Bava, is a thriller-sex-espionage caper involving more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, it also contains a number of impressive looking ladies. Piero Umiliani employs a variety of themes that are jazz orientated as well as symphonic. He manages to merge the two very different styles successfully creating an interestingly original work. The use of choir is particularly interesting and effective, and the composer even manages to parody his own well known composition ‘Ma, Nah, Ma, Nah’ a couple of times. The distinct and impeccable whistling of Alessandro Alessandroni, is just one of the features of this excellent soundtrack that also contains, harpsichord, strings, saxophone, percussion and big band brass all of which go to make up a worthwhile and enjoyable listening experience.
I would say that 5 Bambole Per La Luna D’Agosto is one of the composer’s more attractive and also abundantly infectious film scores. It also has the ability to stand on its own away from the movie as an entertaining work and one which I think is comparable with the music of Morricone on Love Circle and Bruno Nicolai on The Insatiables, both of which are highly regarded amongst collectors of Italian film music. Umiliani also employs the Sitar in a very unusual way, at times backed by a bossa nova beat and jazzy hammond organ, add to this the excellent choral work provided by Il Cantori Moderni and what we have is a great soundtrack.
This CD release also contains no less than seven extra cues that did not appear on the original vinyl issue, and Cinevox have very wisely put all of these cues at the end of the CD. I cannot recommend this soundtrack enough; it is typical Italian movie music from the 1970s but still manages to stand out above the more conventional music that was being produced outside of Italy during this period. Packaged well, with tributes to the composer included within the liner notes. A worthwhile addition to any collection and, for the uninitiated, a perfect way of getting to know the colours and musical flavours of Piero Umiliani.
Originally released in 1967 on a CAM single and then later during the 1970’s on Phoenix records, this Carlo Rustichelli soundtrack is an Italian western score with a difference, when I say this I do not mean it in a derogatory way at all, as it is an interesting and vibrant score, GOD FORGIVES I DON’T, contains none of the what I like to refer to as stock musical trademarks that we normally associate with the genre of the spaghetti western, there are no shrieks, whistles or trumpet solos, in fact this is a very classical sounding score that comes complete with a DIES RAE in the style of Wagner. Rustichelli does however utilise electric guitar in a few of the cues but on the whole keeps strictly to a more conventional approach in his scoring of this movie. This was the first move to pair actors Bud Spencer and Terence Hill and its director Giuseppe Colizzi went on to work with the successful acting duo in two other westerns REVENGE IN EL PASO and BOOTS HILL which were both scored by Maestro Rustichelli and are also both available on Digitmovies. This particular recording contains not only the 16 cues that were originally issued on the Phoenix LP but also a further 8 tracks that have been made available for the first time by CAM records in Rome, Digitmovies have made a fine job of restoring all the tracks to their former glory, and have also produced a colourful and eye arresting cover and liner booklet for the compact disc. The scores backbone is the DIES RAE which opens the soundtrack, Rustichelli builds upon this central thematic material to produce a somewhat serious and powerful work, which also contains a few lighter moments as in CATS THEME, which is heard in a handful of the soundtracks cues. There are also a number of cues which the composer wrote for performance by a small jazz band as in track 5 ROSE and track number 9 THE FUNERAL which is almost like the type of music that is played at a Funeral in New Orleans. Overall this may not be the best Italian western score written, but it is certainly powerful, diverse and interesting enough to have a place in any collection of film music.
Another in the LTD edition series from BEAT records, MILANO ROVENTE was released in cinemas in 1973, directed by eminent filmmaker Umberto Lenzi and starred Antonio Sabato, Philippe Leroy and Carla Romanelli. I love the sound that Maestro Rustichelli has conjured up on this score, it brings to mind an almost sleazy and very laid back image of a back street which is dimly lit, within the opening cue FROM SICILY TO MILAN the composer utilises piano and an almost wailing and mournful sounding saxophone which renders a smoky jazz infused motif that is underlined by subtle use of brass and lightly struck cymbals as an introduction to a more low key sounding theme performed on harpsichord and a music box effect that are supported by near romantic swelling strings, the overall effect is stunningly attractive and haunting. Track two DRAMATIC DISCOVER is a more down beat and less melodic affair, it opens with tense sounding brass that is enhanced by use of a quirky sounding organ rift, the cue continues with the use of dark and tense sounding strings that act as a background to that saxophone motif which is played as if it is faraway or in the distance, the composer adding little stabs of bongos here and there and that little tweek from the organ every so often. The score also includes a particularly nice sounding song, WHAT IS LOVE track number 7, which was written by Franco de Gemini, this is performed by Melody. I would mark this as one of my favourite Rustichelli scores which is quite something as I have many scores by the Maestro in my collection, and have had this one just two days, it just has that sound and presence about it that makes it instantly attractive to the listener, it has a unique and lingering aire to it, the theme being as distinctive as Rota,s GODFATHER, it is also quite hard hitting in places ie; track number 12, FLICS COMPROMISE menacing sounding piano, is combined with strings and brass to create a cue that more than suggests that something is not quite right. Under all of this and also in many of the tracks there is a distinct Sicilian instrumentation, which I think is the main component that makes all the other ingredients of the work gel together. Again this is a soundtrack that I highly recommend, any self respecting collector of Italian film music cannot be without it. The CD is packaged as always very well, in a Digi Pack with notes by Umberto Lenzi, Claudio Fuiano and Fabio Babini, which are all most interesting. Plus there is the bonus once again via multi media of an absorbing interview with Umberto Lenzi.
Another Western release from Hillside, UN TRENO PER DURANGO (A TRAIN FOR DURANGO) has music by the vintage Italian Maestro, Carlo Rustichelli, now for me Rustichelli and westerns just don’t gel that often, and on the rare occasions that the composer has produced a fairly good score for a spaghetti western it has been filled with either circus music that intrudes and makes the work laughable or clichéd and out of place, with cues that just don’t fit. Sorry to say this is no different, Rustichelli borrowing from his own past works in a few of the cues, and even reverting to a LONE RANGER type debacle for the scores central theme, by Lone ranger I do refer to William Tell rather than the John Barry effort which was less than memorable as well. Racing snares accompany deliberate and clumsy sounding brass and strings in a composition that sends a shiver up the spine and will make any self respecting film music fan cringe. The Title theme however is pretty impressive as the composer employs a Mexican sounding chorus alongside a mariachis sounding composition which builds and builds in volume till it reaches its crescendo, in a number of ways this reminded me of the style that Maurice Jarre employed within his scores for westerns, i.e. VILLA RIDES and to an extent BEHOLD A PALE HORSE sadly this style and sound does not continue and Rustichelli’s score although containing some pleasant sounding passages declines and falls into a mish-mash of unpleasing, irritating and unworthy tracks. I am not sure if this is a comedy laced adventure or not, as Rustichelli does seem to try and score the movie is a somewhat comedic fashion in places. It grieves me to give Hillside’s releases a less than glowing review, but I as a reviewer have to give you an honest opinion, and as a fan of music from spaghetti westerns I have to state that I am sorely disappointed with this particular release, I just hope that the next batch contain something that can be of some interest.
Originally issued on an RCA LP record (KOLS 1006) back in 1969, COME QUANDO PERCHE is a score that I would say is typical of the style and sound of Trovajoli, the opening theme sets the stage perfectly for what is to follow, which is a romantically slanted and entertaining soundtrack. In the opening track alone the composer utilises a number of what we have come to think of as stock instruments when it comes to music for this type of movie, harpsichord, woodwind, organ strings and laid back easy sounding percussion plus the exquisite and flawless vocals of Edda dell Orso. Her unique voice soaring and at times in unison with strings creating a perfect and pleasing sound that as always is enthralling and stunning. Trovajoli is as we all are aware the master of melody, and like his counterparts, Morricone, Nicolai and Micalizzi is capable of creating a simple musical phrase that he builds and shapes into a beautiful and haunting thematic property, developing from the simplest beginnings music that is enjoyable, memorable and above all entertaining. This is because Trovajoli is a well practised and capable composer, who also has the ability to arrange and orchestrate his works to a very high standard. COME QUANDO PERCHE is for the majority of it’s running time a score that can be categorised as romantic, but as with all movie scores there are obviously cues and moments that are dramatic or suspense filled. Track 3, DISPERAZIONE DI IN RICORDO is one of these moments, a hard hitting piano motif begins the track, which is then interrupted by tense and urgent sounding strings, this interruption is short lived and the track soon falls back into the romantic mode of the score with near lush sounding strings overpowering all else. These too soon evaporate away and are replaced by nervous sounding woods which bring the track to it’s conclusion. The majority of the soundtrack is filled with jazz influenced light and airy almost easy listening cues, the composer utilising guitar, bass, piano, brushed drums and Hammond organ to maximum effect. Edda is as always a delight to hear, her unique vocalising being an important component within Trovajoli’s score. Her talents are probably best heard within the opening cue and also on track number 5, PAULA, where Edda,s vocal is delicately placed almost in the background or sounding faraway, which creates a dazzling and memorable effect for the listener. So in short a score filled with beautiful melodies and wonderful performances, and one that is certainly worth investigating.