Released back in 2001 by the ever popular and industrious independent soundtrack label Hexacord, IL CONTE MELISSA is the work of former film music writer turned film music composer Marco Werba. The movie is a romantic period drama set in the 1660’s. At this stage in his career Werba was relatively new to the film music arena, but the score that he penned for this movie is a classic in more ways than one and has about it a mature ness and style that is reminiscent of some of the Golden age film scores of Hollywood. The style in which he approached the project is perfectly appropriate for this type of movie and his music wonderfully enhances and elevates this romantically slanted drama, the composer utilizes woodwind, strings and harp to great effect and embellishes these with the use of choral passages which convey an atmosphere and feeling of the 17th Century. The works central thematic property can be found in the cue, IL RITRATTO DI ELENORA, which is the love theme from the score, the theme itself is quite short lived but it establishes itself swiftly because it is so lyrical and haunting. Although it is one of the works principal themes in its first outing it seems to lack substance, but this is made up for later in the score when the composer returns to it in varying arrangements and guises which are orchestrated cleverly making them fresh each time they are heard. There is also a secondary theme present within the score, but this in my opinion does not an introduction until the latter part of the soundtrack. In its first appearance the composer calls upon recorder to perform it, this is supported by a subdued string section and also what sounds like a mandolin, the theme r-emerges on a number of occasions again it is given a fresh sound by the composers inventive instrumentation and is also bolstered by choir at one point, which gives it a fuller and richer sound. This is an accomplished and also an enjoyable score, and hopefully there are still a few copies available. Since his work on this movie Marco Werba seems to have gone from strength to strength and has developed his inimitable style and sound, gracing movies with his romantically laced themes and also infusing a sense of drama and at times dread with his dark and formidable sound when necessary. Nicely packaged and presented by Hexacord.  Recommended.

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