Welcome to soundtrack supplement forty-four, I begin this edition with a score that I think is a delight. Spirit Untamed is a fusion of vocal performances and original symphonic score and what a score this is, Music is courtesy of composer Amie Doherty, who’s music for Undone was a revelation, Spirit Untamed is a soundtrack that I really must insist that you check out, available on digital platforms so really there is no excuse not to take a listen and, in my opinion, it would be rude not too. If you are a fan of the late James Horner I think you will love this score as at times it evoked the style and sound of his soundtracks. It is a work of great quality and diversity, with grand symphonic pieces mixed with more intimate and even comedic sounding passages. Which is why I think that this is such an interesting and above all entertaining work. The composer utilizes the string section to maximum effect and combines the sweeping, driving, romantic and lush string performances with proud and triumphant brass flourishes and percussive elements, adding to these the support of woods and beautiful guitar performances, that glide in and out of the score creating a wonderfully rich but at the same time emotive statement. Plus, we are treated to a homage of sorts to Ennio Morricone in the track, I am the Train, which comes complete with male voices in Fistful of Dollars like mode that punctuate the cue and a Soprano solo, whistling, racing percussion, plus a solo trumpet performance.
It is a score that seems to keep on giving as after I listened to it a couple of times I returned again and again to discover so much more than I did on my initial listens. A great score that is not only robust and vibrant but also has to it affecting emotional levels. Check this out ASAP.
BEAT records in Italy have over the past decade or so certainly ramped up their re-issue and release programme of scores from Italian cinema. At times, the label releasing soundtracks that have never seen the light of day before and also continuing to release scores that have already had a release either on LP or on Compact Disc but giving collectors extra cues that have been discovered in the archives. Their recent releases include Around the World with the Lovers of Peynet, which was originally issued on a Japanese Seven Seas LP record then re-issued a couple of times in expanded forms on a handful of labels. The music score is the work of Alessandro Alessandroni with a Love theme or Main title theme by Ennio Morricone. A few years ago, I remember talking to Alessandroni in London about this animated movie that was released back in 1974 and why Morricone had written just the Love theme, Alessandroni explained that Morricone agreed to do the score, but then became remarkably busy, so Alessandroni was asked to take on the project, with Morricone providing the Love theme by way of an apology of sorts to the film’s producers. The score by Alessandroni is glorious with the composer placing his own unique musical fingerprint upon proceedings whilst subtly incorporating sections of Morricone’s opening theme into his score. And is a prime example of the creative, exquisitely romantic, and wonderfully atmospheric Italian film music from the 1960’s and 1970’s. This latest edition from BEAT contains thirty-eight tracks from the original stereo master tapes and has clear sound which makes it well worth adding to your collection even if you do already own the prior releases.
BEAT have also released a 2 CD set of the music from So Che Tu Sai Che Io Io So. Which was scored by Maestro Piero Piccioni in 1982 with the music being released originally by GDM. The movie directed by Alberto Sordi, has a score that encompasses a mix of styles with the composer providing the film with romantic and lilting themes that are aired alongside up-beat funky disco grooves and Latino influenced pieces some of which do I have to say become repetitive and tired. The second disc in this new set includes un-released material from the score, but do we really need all this as the original release was already adequate in my mind, again it is a case of less is more, proving that an endless release programme of unreleased cues is sometimes not want everybody really wants. The third release from the BEAT stable is a joint effort between them and the newish soundtrack label CF recordings, who have issued a few obscure Italian scores but nothing to shout about.
This collaboration is for the Armando Travajoli soundtrack to Straziami, Ma di Baciami Sazaiami which was released back in 1968, the score for this rather wishy-washy comedy contains a central theme that is probably one of the composers most haunting and one which can be heard throughout the work in varying arrangements, renditions of it providing the foundation for the majority of the soundtrack. There is only one negative with all three of these releases and that is that they have all been issued before, I do stress always that maybe labels in Italy should start to focus on the many scores that still lay in the archives, instead of releasing soundtracks that have already been issued and some of these being released quite recently. Re-issues are always good for newer collectors, with Around the World with the Lovers of Peynet standing out on this occasion but seasoned film music fans are still waiting for something vintage but new if you see what I mean. Time surely is running out for some of these vintage scores that lay in the archives, and because of age or indeed the way they have been stored could at any time turn to dust and be lost forever. We are told there is a wealth of material still unreleased in various vaults, so where are they? And yes I know Sugar music now own the CAM catalogue but why keep re-issuing re-issues, just a thought.
Game scores recently I have looked forward to hearing as they seem to be becoming more interesting and certainly more inventive than most scores for film and TV, but I suppose that’s a little unfair because the game score composer is maybe a little less inhibited or restricted when scoring a game as opposed to a movie. But that’s something I truly am not sure of, either way game scores for me personally have progressed and developed vastly in their content and also their attention to musicality and thematic quality, one such score is for the video game Chivalry 2, which has a driving and wonderfully robust and vibrant soundtrack by composer J.D,Spears. What can I say about the music apart from its relentless and filled with so many rich and affecting thematic manifestations, I wont dwell on this release but I do highly recommend that you take a listen and go along for the musical white knuckle-ride. Talking of white-knuckle rides stand by for one that will probably scare the pants off you, as soon as I mention composer Joseph Bishira I know many will feel that tingling feeling up their spine or the hairs on their arms and neck will literally stand up as if they have been frightened into doing so.
The Conjuring-The Devil Made Me Do It is here, and so to is another atmospheric and totally consuming score from this talented and versatile composer. This I think is probably one of the most affecting and malevolent sounding scores from Bishara, and it does when one listens to it make you very apprehensive and unsettled. It is also a score that is far more grandiose sounding than any of the other Conjuring soundtracks, it is an imposing and also a if you can forgive the pun haunting listening experience, it also however contains a number of less fraught and fearsome sounding cues with the composer utilizing strings and emotive solo piano too purvey moments of respite. Another great horror film score, from a composer who seems to get better and better. Marco Beltrami is a composer who many associate predominantly with the horror genre, but there is far much more to Beltrami than crashes, bangs and sinister sounds. Granted, his scores for the Scream series are a great example of horror film scoring, with manic shrieking strings, upbeat interludes and driving musical passages throughout, but there was also a sound that in my opinion was close to the operatic within those scores that displayed to us just how talented Beltrami was and still is. The composer has worked on so many movies since those early days, and although not all his soundtracks have met with the approval of everyone, he has contributed some of the most atmospheric and innovative film soundtracks of both the 20th and thus far 21st century and continues to do so.
A Quiet Place 2 is one of his most recent projects, and the composer has penned a tense and at the same quite emotive score for this uneasy horror tale. The composer also worked on the original movie A Quiet Place. Beltrami’s music is a vital component to the movie’s development, and it is the music that on most occasions is the most terrifying thing on the screen or behind and underneath the action at least. The score is grating, visceral, persistently manic, edgy, and seductively and forebodingly dark and harrowing. It can at times be chaotic because of its use of percussive elements and the intense sounding foghorn like call that is associated with the creatures in the movie. Again, this is one for your collection.
Meandre is a sci-fi horror movie that was released in 2020, the score is by composer Frederic Poirier and is a subtle but also a powerful work, an electronic work in the main the composer has created some beautiful melodies, which are presented alongside dark and shadowy pieces, both styles complimenting each other to make this an enjoyable listen. I like to unpredictability of the score, some cues beginning as low key and subdued but then building and altering course to become something that is oh so dark and tense. It’s a score that I think you will enjoy, take a listen it’s on digital platforms.
Let us take a step back a few years for the next soundtrack and maybe this is one you might have overlooked. Bellissima Estate was originally released in 1974 on RCA records it is a soundtrack that will delight and please any collector who subscribes to the romantic sounding film score. It will also be of interest to collectors who have a preference for the more romantically laced works of composers such as Franco Micalizzi, Berto Pisano, Stelvio Cipriani, Armando Trovajoli, Ennio Morricone, and Roberto Pregadio. I say this because the style and sound achieved is somewhat similar to firstly Micalizzi’s scores for The Last Snows of Spring, The tree with Pink Leaves and Alla Cara Mia Mamma (the latter still is crying out for a full release) and also has certain similarities to Interrabang by Berto Pisano. Composer Alberto Pomeranz utilizes to great effect the beautiful wordless vocals of Edda Dell Orso, and combines her unique aural talents with soaring strings, and piano which are both at times combined and performed in unison creating some of those spine-shivering moments. Light and easy-going compositions are the mainstay of this work, along with choir and slight jazz influenced passages that create a magical and hauntingly mesmerising work.
The movie itself is a tearjerker, one of many such tales that were produced in Italy during the mid to late 1970s, I do not think this example was that successful outside of Italy’s borders, but it starred the attractive screen siren Senta Berger which for me has to be a plus. The score is quite breath-taking, and the composer seems to squeeze every drop of emotion out of the orchestra as they treat the listener to some wonderfully romantic and emotive tone poems. Every track on this compact disc is a joy to hear the haunting melodies are full and richly elegant. The disc contains fourteen cues which originally appeared on the RCA long player, and a further eleven cues which are listed as bonus tracks, all twenty-five tracks on the CD are in full and crystal-clear stereo sound. There is also a fourteen-track edition on Spotify as the CD release could now be hard to find. I just love the sound that Pomeranz has created, he utilises piano to maximum effect and enhances and embellishes this with a light and delicate dusting of harpsichord, plus romantic sounding strings and equally delicate and emotive woodwind. The score contains several slightly upbeat cues within the work, samba type compositions (shades of Love Circle) with Edda taking the lead, supported by jazz infused rhythms that are underlined using sliding strings, which add texture and substance to the cues. Packaged attractively, but no information in the way of notes, which I think would have been of great benefit to the release, as the film is virtually unknown, and the composer too is not that well recognised by collectors. But hey, we cannot have it all, and when the music is as good as this well, we can I suppose put up with it. There are a few additional compositions on the score which are the work of Italian composer Luciano Michelini, but the track listing credits do not indicate which these are. But Michelini performed piano on a few soundtracks so maybe that is why he is credited here. Seek this out you will be amazed, highly recommended. Staying with a release or should I say three now classic Italian releases from the 1970’s that finally made their way onto compact disc in 2013 and are in the same style as Bellissima Estate or vice versa as The Last Snows of Spring, The Tree with Pink Leaves and The White Horses of August were all released before it. Digit movies in Italy did a grand job of issuing these three Franco Micalizzi scores in the same two CD set. The Last Snows of Spring soundtrack sold well in Italy when it was released on the RCA Original Cast label in 1973, it also generated interest outside of Italy with the film being advertised on British TV and the soundtrack receiving a limited release on K-Tel records. Ok nowadays it would probably be relegated to late night cable television if it was indeed shown at all as time has not been kind to it and now it is looked upon as a sentimental and syrupy example of 1970s cinema.
With fresh-faced and slightly annoying child actor Renato Cestie taking the part of a boy whose Mother has died and refuses to accept his Fathers new partner. The score however has managed to stand the test of time and even now sounds as bright and melodic as it did way back when I first heard it on LP which I purchased from at Soundtrack at the arts theatre club in London. Micalizzi,s gift for melody is evident in the first flourishes of the films love theme. The digit movies release includes the original album tracks, plus we are treated to a further ten cues which were not before issued in any format until now making a grand total of twenty-three cues. Micalizzi, manages to create an atmospheric as well as heartrending sound throughout the score, via use of the string section, harpsichord, guitar, piano and also subtly placed woods which not only support but enhance the many swelling string flourishes that rise and fall throughout the work. There is also a song on the soundtrack, Crianca, performed by Trio de Paula and Gino Marinuzzi which I would compare to the style of Antonino Carlos Jobim, as it has a definite Brazilian or Latin sound.
Micalizzi also utilises jazz influenced organ which can be heard at its most effective during track number twelve Vodka Per Due, being showcased alongside harpsichord and percussion. This is a score that one will never tire of and I am sure will be returned to on many occasions. Next up is The lesser known, The Tree with Pink Leaves (1974) a film in many ways that has similar themes and scenarios to The Last Snows of Spring, being an unashamedly over the top and gushy tearjerker involving a young boy (Renato Cestie) and his sadness about the breakup of his parents, a sadness that eventually drives him to run away but tragedy strikes and he is involved in an accident and sadly dies. For this movie Micalizzi created a suitably emotive score, in which he utilises solo guitar supported heavily by strings and woodwind. There are certainly similarities between the two scores, I suppose there would be as they were both written by the same composer almost back-to-back. The highlight cue for me from this soundtrack is track number twenty six on disc one, Favola which is a combination of strings, harpsichord and soothing sounding woodwinds that are punctuated by piano and guitar; it is a sheer delight and one of Micalizzi’s most haunting pieces.
Originally released on Cinevox records, the LP has now become sought after by collectors, not just for the music it contains but also for its vibrant and eye arresting artwork some of which is reproduced for this CD release. The soundtrack runs from track number twenty-four to twenty-eight on disc one and then continues tracks one through to five on disc two, a score that contains light jazz orientated cues with sleepy sounding trumpet being lifted by sentimental strings, romantically infused pieces and some cues that mange to be mysterious yet highly harmonious. Again, a wonderful score, which will be firm favourite of collectors old and new.
The third score on this collection, had never been issued in its complete form before, a few tracks appeared back in 1976 on a Franco Micalizzi best of collection, that was released on RCA in Italy and also a 45rpm single did get a release, The White Horses of August yes you guessed it a is another tearjerker, and involves yet another sad tale about another young boy, who when holidaying in Italy falls from a cliff and badly injures himself, but because of this accident eventually brings together his parents. This score by Micalizzi, is quite stunning, full of melody, and features the stunning soaring wordless vocals of Edda Dell Orso, this release features no less than nineteen tracks which are pure unadulterated romanticism from Micalizzi. Delicate piano solos, soaring strings, exquisite female vocals, charming themes, and a delightful song all go to make up a rewarding and enriching listening experience, I recommend this Digit movies release whole heartedly.
Lets stay with Italian film music for the next release, again this is a movie that was released back in 1966, La Strega in Amore was directed by acclaimed Italian filmmaker Damiano Damiani and is a movie that is somewhat overlooked. The score is by Luis Bacalov and has recently been made available digitally on the platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify. It is a quite different Luis Bacalov that are hearing on this score I say different, but I suppose inventive is the word that is best used to describe the composers work on this one. It contains some nice themes and even has a South American flavour at times when the composer employs melodic woods, but there is a sinister side to the score with the composer creating edgy and creepy effects via whispering and gasping female voices, he also puts to effective use guitar solos, percussive elements, and spidery and sinister sounding sinewy strings. It is a score that I found interesting, and I am sure you will too. Check it out. That’s all folks.