FELLINI SATYRICON is a movie that was released in 1969, produced by Alberto Grimaldi and directed by Famed Italian film maker Federico Fellini. The director based his story on the novel by Petronius which itself was written during the reign of the infamous Roman Emperor Nero. Set in the uncertain and somewhat bizarre times of Imperial Rome the movie is divided into nine sections which I suppose are separate movies within a movie. At the time of the films release it was shown mainly in cinema’s and theatres that were categorised as art house or independent outlets and I think I am right in saying it was not a movie that was on at your local Academy or Odeon. The storyline follows two main characters, Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they attempt to win the affections of a young boy named Giton, the two friends fall in love with the young man and Fellini tells their story via dreamlike and unreal shorts for want of a better description, which depict life, love and death within the bizarre and at times violent culture that is associated with Rome from that period. The musical score is by Nino Rota who scored most Fellini’s movies. SATYRICON is probably the most unusual film score that Rota ever penned, its weird and whacky compositions being far removed from anything that cinema goers might associate with Imperial Rome that had been served up by both Hollywood and Cinecitta but saying that SATYRICON is certainly no run of the mill Roman tale. I actually found the movie rather uncomfortable to watch and Rota’s score is in my opinion something that I can take or leave, it is interesting to note that the composer employed a theme within the score that is very similar to his GODFATHER theme although he did not fully develop the idea at that time, but one can most certainly hear the seven note motif that introduces the central theme for the GODFATHER at certain points within the score for SATYRICON.


There are also several cues that include strange sounding vocals or grunts and chanting that are accompanied by percussive elements that do seem very out of place even in this curious example of the work of Fellini. As I have already stated this is not a score that I would g out of my way to sit and listen to and, I probably would not be too upset if I never saw the movie again, but there are a handful of nice cues which are low key and do carry something that resembles a theme. THE NEW ISLAND for example which is a pleasant enough sounding piece, but if you are looking for another LA DOLCE VITA, AMACORD or GODFATHER, this is probably not for you. SATYRICON, is filled with weirdness and the unusual.

Encolpio's fight with the Minotaur
** I.V.C.





Anything new from composer Christopher Young is always welcomed as far as I am concerned, his latest work is for a Video Game entitled WILSONS HEART. This is a dark addition to the composers already impressive and inventive catalogue of film music, at times the soundtrack being impish and mischievous and although the work does leans towards the apprehensive and fearsome it also contains several musical moments, motifs, nuances, and passages that are lilting, haunting and richly melodic. Young is a master of the music for the macabre, one only has to listen to that grand waltz like theme for HELLRAISER to realise that when Young writes he produces musical themes that are not only perfect for the images on screen but also are wonderful to listen to away from those images. His score for WILSONS HEART is an inventive one, the composer employing sounds that are musical and otherwise to conjure up an otherworldly atmosphere that literally drips fear, distress and foreboding and creates moods that are unsettling and somewhat disturbing in their sound and construction. The composer utilises driving strings at certain points especially in the more symphonic moments of the score, but there are many noises put to effective use and these at times odd and disconcerting sounds are responsible for giving the work a highly original overall sound. Christopher Young is in my opinion one of todays Masters in the field of music for film and television, one only has to see his name on a compact disc to know that this will be a quality score and WILSONS HEART is no exception to this rule, I found it an interesting and entertaining listening experience which is certainly innovative, it is one of those scores that as soon as one has finished listening you immediately reach for the repeat button so that you can savour it all over again. This is a score that is full of musical surprises, dark and ominous, at times a little chaotic (in a good way), but, above all it is original. It is also a work that contains magnificently rich compositions that evoke the days of film scoring as we might remember when the composer first became known to collectors, but it also has a contemporary sound to it as well, the composer fuses both styles with ease to fashion a sound that is all his own. Recommended without reservation.