SWEDEN HEAVEN AND HELL, is a great soundtrack composed and conducted by revered and respected Italian Maestro and jazz artist extraordinaire Piero Umiliani, BEAT records and Digit Movies have teamed up to bring us this new edition of the score which has wonderfully restored sound. I think the attraction of the soundtrack is the performances of Alessandroni and his distinct sounding singing group IL CANTORI MODERNI, they add so much to the proceedings and yes I know that it is Maestro Umiliani who composed and orchestrated the music but their performances are also an important and integral component of the work. I am pleased that BEAT/DIGIT MOVIES have given full credit to Alessandroni and his singers for the work they did on the score. Too often Alessandroni is ignored which is in a word unforgivable.
SWEDEN HEAVEN AND HELL contains a plethora of thematic material but the outstanding cue has to be the now classic composition MAH NA MAH NA performed so flawlessly by Alessandro and company. It is a composition that instantly lifts the listener and makes smiles break out everywhere. Primarily a jazz score with sweet bossa nova’s and haunting and endearing easy listening cues sprinkled throughout it is a compact disc that one can just pop into the player and let it play, because every track is a gem a delight and piece of Italian film music history. Presented well with numerous stills from the movie and also a selection of publicity posters reproduced throughout. Certainly worth adding to your collection.
This new edition also features the original artwork used for the first album release (of which only several hundred copies were pressed, making it a cult object among collectors) and includes every single note recorded for the movie.
available on DIGI-BEAT DGBT001
Released in 1977 this was the cinema version or sequel to the highly successful TV series SANDOKAN. Directed by the famed Sergio Sollima, the movie enjoyed moderate success at the box office and starred Kabir Bedi who reprized his performance as Sandokan from the TV shows. At the time of the movies release only a single 45 rpm record was issued which included two cues from the soundtrack, but thankfully the full score still remained intact and in fairly reasonable condition in the vaults of GDM. Digit movies have lovingly and meticulously restored the tapes and have issued for the first time in stereo the full score from this adventure yarn, music courtesy of the original Italian composing duo Guido and Maurizio de Angelis. As we are all aware the style and sound of this talented pair is at times an acquired taste, in other words you either love it hate it or just sit and think at times why did they do that, as in KEOMA-THE VIOLENT BREED. I am happy to say with this particular soundtrack, there is a little bit of everything that should please everyone, or at least I hope so. There are a number of fairly descent melodic themes within the work, which are orchestrated and arranged in a way that I will describe as conventional, taking into account the other works of the De Angelis brothers. There are some grand sounding cues which to be honest took me by surprise. Fully symphonic and full blooded orchestral cues which are certainly not John Williams, Hans Zimmer or Alan Silvestri but hit the spot emotionally and musically sweeping along at a brisk pace, there are also so more offbeat cues included as one would expect from the Brothers De Angelis, track 2 for example, where the composers utilise a sitar being played in no particular direction, backed by percussion, after a few seconds it does become monotonous, but I am sure it services the movies story line well, even if it is not exactly a pleasurable listening experience. The score relies upon the usage of the string section, which is enhanced and supported throughout by the likes of woods and mandolin, which perform the central theme in various manifestations giving it a bright and vibrant sound each time it emerges. Track 6 is a good example of this, layered strings act as a background to a mandolin picking out the theme, which in turn is replaced by delicately placed and performed woodwind, and then as the cue reaches its final seconds the mandolin returns. There are also a few more atonal cues within the score, but these to are in there own way entertaining. As with the majority of De Angelis soundtracks there is a song included on this occasion performed by long time collaborator of the De Angelis boys, Oliver Onions,I say collaborator but we all know that Onions is an alias for the composing duo, MOMPRACEM (track 21) is a fairly typical example of the vocals heard in many other De Angelis scores, so nothing outstanding but again not unpleasant, this is repeated in an “off vocal version” which is basically the cue without Oliver Onions and includes just orchestra and choir. I think I am going to stick my neck out and highly recommend this release, it’s certainly not the usual example of the music of the De Angelis and will I think be an entertaining and pleasant surprise to anyone who purchases it. It comes with some stunning art work on the front cover and informative notes, along with some colourful stills from the movie. Recommended.
Stelvio Cipriani is a composer who contributed a great deal of original and entertaining music to Italian movies from the early 1960,s through to the latter part of the 1980,s. Despite this his music is in comparison with other composers such as Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai poorly represented on compact disc. Italian company Digit movies have with this, one of their latest releases continued to make amends for this oversight. UN’OMBRA NELL’OMBRA was written by Pier Carpi in 1974, and it was Carpi who also directed the movie which was released in 1979 in Italy. Considered something of a masterpiece in the Devil movie genre this chilling tale of devil worship and possession is a riveting and convincing piece of cinema, which featured Ian Bannen, Frank Finlay, John Phillip Law and Irene Papas in its cast. Cipriani’s music although being for a horror movie still includes a fair amount of strong thematic material which is melodic and non atonal, this I am glad to say is a quality that Cipriani managed to sustain when being involved with movies of the horror genre, often scoring these types of movies in a strangely romantic fashion, thus lulling the watching audience into a false sense of security, so when the actual moment of violence or horror takes place it is more of a fright for the audience.
Cipriani,s score for UN’OMBRA NELL’ OMBRA is a fusion of symphonic and synthetic styles, the composer utilising electronic sounds to act as a background to the orchestral compositions, this is not a grandiose sounding soundtrack in any way, there are few sweeping or lush interludes, in fact it is a low key affair for the best part of its running time, the composer maintaining an uneasy atmosphere via his sparse scoring where he employs bass guitar, organ, percussion and the aforementioned electronic effects. This is a welcome addition to the Digit Movies catalogue, and hopefully more of Cipriani,s music will follow on this label. As always the compact disc is presented very well, containing striking cover art and numerous stills from the movie within its booklet, there are also notes about the movie by Claudio Fuiano, which are informative.
A great release from the ever popular Digit movies label, this 1972 movie which is referred to as being part of the DEMAEROTICO genre of films which were produced in their abundance during the 1970,s. The production Stars the stunningly attractive actress Edwige Fenech and popular Italian comic Pippo Franco. The story is set in the medieval period where knights were bold in more ways than one and the ladies wore exquisite gowns (most of the time any way). An entertaining romp which is a saucy little comedy. Which I suppose is akin to the British CARRY ON,s, but more revealing, and probably a lot funnier. The score by Maestro Bruno Nicolai, is fairly typical of what the composer was producing during this period, and in a number of ways is similar to Ennio Morricone’s WHEN WOMEN HAD TAILS and Nicolai,s own WHEN WOMEN LOST THEIR TAILS, it has that same energy and light but bubbly persona. The score opens with a fanfare of sorts, which one just knows cannot be taken seriously, as the composer utilizes muted trumpet which is slightly off key supported by rolling timpani, this is short lived and gives way to a comical sounding and catchy sounding theme, that in the movie introduces Pippo Franco,s character, who is a Knight returning from the wars. This theme is given several airings throughout the score in numerous arrangements, one of the most memorable being on track number 6 where the theme is performed on a music box type instrument. Even though the theme does reprise a number of times one never tires of hearing it. The other central theme is for Edwige Fenech’s character UBALDA, and is a particularly haunting and beautiful composition that is first heard on track number 7, Nicolai has penned a pleasing and light sounding composition, which again is reprised on a few of the cues and even combined with the Knights theme on occasion as on track number 10. As you progresses through the soundtrack it is possible that you will draw a few comparisons between this and other Nicolai works, such as GIORNATA SPESE BENE, as there are little musical phrases and motifs present that the composer has utilized before, but this I think is the appeal of the work and also of Nicolai, the outstanding track for me is cue number 9 which is a full version of the Ubalda theme, performed on strings with harpsichord, plucked electric guitar, faraway sounding horns, choir and solo female voice adding to its content, the only way I can describe it is to say think of the theme for THE RED TENT or even AROUND THE WORLD WITH THE LOVERS OF PEYNET, it is delicate and superb. So this is another triumph for Digit Movies, packaging is again up to the now expected high standard, and sound quality is excellent.
Released on Digit Movies SENZA SAPERE NIENTE DI LEI was first seen in cinemas in 1969.The films story line is a dark and mysterious one, for which Maestro Ennio Morricone provided a suitably atmospheric soundtrack, the composer underlining the movies scenario effectively with a slow waltz like theme which is reprized throughout the score in varying arrangements containing differing orchestration etc. Also on this compact disc there are four rare cues of music which Morricone penned for a movie that was never made entitled LUI PER LEI, in the sleeve notes for the compact disc Claudio Fuiano explains that the Maestro wanted these cues included to make the disc a better listening experience for the collector, and admittedly it does seem to work, because although the theme which Morricone utilized for SENZA SAPERE NIENTE DI LEI is a haunting and interesting one, it does repeat it self in nearly every cue, the tracks from LUI PER LEI were released previously on two CAM library LP,s thus this is the first time that this music has been issued commercially, the four tracks in question cue numbers- 4, 7,10 and 13 are quite removed from the remainder of the music on the disc, in fact I would categorize the music as experimental and without melody, but saying this it is still enjoyable or interesting to listen to, after all Morricone wrote this music in 1970, so it was certainly way ahead of its time. To describe the music would be difficult because it is a combination of music and also musical sounds, meandering piano scales fade in and out as a guitar chords are played in the background and Alessandroni’s unmistakable and haunting whistle also fades in and out of the compositions, if I had to compare it to anything else by Morricone I would probably say it was akin to THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and also some of the cues on CITTA VIOLENTA. The only melodic cue out of the four is number 13, entitled LUI PER LEI, which I can only guess was to be the title or end theme, it is an easy on the ear lounge type track with choir and that typical Morricone sound from the late 1960,s which he employed so well in movies such as ESCALATION, LOVE CIRCLE and FORZA G. Returning to the main score on the disc, it is a pleasant enough work, but does suffer from repetition, maybe you can get too much of a good thing. Overall I would recommend the CD because it contains music from two movies in effect, and it shows just how versatile and talented the Maestro is. Again the compact disc is packaged extremely well by Digit Movies, with info on the movie and also on the music, it also contains a mini poster from the movie in its centre pages, a worth while listen.