IL DECAMERONE NERO.

 

61DKRj6-c1LComposer Luciano Michelini has in my opinion created numerous film scores for a wide variety of cinematic genres, even though the Maestro always wrote scores that were wonderfully affecting within the context of supporting and adding depth to the movie and its storyline as well as having a life away from the projects to be enjoyed as an entertaining listening experience, he never seemed to be fully recognised for his ample talents as a composer, arranger and conductor. Yes, there were a handful of scores thet hard and fast Italian film music fans ceased and applauded such as the excellent SECRETS OF A CALL GIRL and LA POLIZIA ACCUSA, IL SERVIZIO SEGRETO UCCIDE and the haunting LA CONQUISTA DI LUNA. But it is a sad fact that he was never truly appreciated until Italian began to re-issue soundtracks onto CD, its thanks to the still ongoing re-release programme that a number of Italian record companies embarked upon that we were lucky enough to get a few wonderful morsels from this composer on compact disc and more recently on digital platforms, but even these are few and far between. One score that I always found interesting was his soundtrack for IL DECAMERONE NERO (1972), this was and still is a beautiful score which is a collaboration between Michelini and African composer performer Banna Sissokha, the album was originally released on the RCA Original Cast label with Michelini’s score occupying side 1 and Sissokha’s music and songs on the B side with a handful of African ethnic tracks. Michelini produced a haunting and rhythmic sounding work that had a central theme based upon the title song from the soundtrack LA REINA BELLA, which is performed by the movies female lead Beryl Cunningham, the lilting and alluring core theme forms the foundation of the instrumental score and Michelini arranged and orchestrated this simple five note motif to form various themes and passages that all contained the basic theme but were elevated and given a new lease of life via the composers clever orchestration, the melodic and rhythmic sound becoming almost mesmerising and hypnotic, giving the already controversial content of the movie an even more steamy and sultry persona. TEMA DI DUVA for example begins with slow and subtle percussion, over which the composer introduces a breathy woodwind solo, this is then embellished by the use of male voices and a definite African vibe throughout, the theme which is a variation of LA REINA BELLA is haunting and attractive, it has to it a light and seductive sound, the composer introducing more choral work as the cue progresses. The theme is reworked later in the score, with female voice and a gasping sounding which is effective and emotive.

 

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One of my favourite cues from the score is La Foresta Dell’Amore, again a variation of the central theme, but given an even more delicate and air of fragility via earthy but tranquil sounding woodwind, that are underlined by an easy-going percussive backing. There are too a handful of instrumental versions of the vocal, again earthy sounding flute combines with subdued percussion to create a steamy sounding piece. This is probably score that many have looked at and decided not to add it their collection, my advice, have a re-think it’s worth checking out. Released on GDM/LEGEND in Italy it has eye arresting art work with the original LP cover acting as the front art picture of the CD release, good sound quality too, contains the original LP tracks and 12 bonus tracks which were previously unreleased cues.