Composer 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.
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.
The releases from Italian record labels continues at pace and seems to gain momentum with each season whether or not these many soundtracks are indeed worth releasing or re-issuing is obviously down to each individual collectors opinion or taste in music and genre of film. Digit movies have over the years a number of soundtracks that in my humble opinion are very worthwhile, whether these be westerns, giallo,s, police dramas, comedies or horror etc, the label always seemed to come up with the goods and give us the film music collecting fraternity something that was enjoyable and entertaining. Alas things changed quite rapidly, and this is not the fault of the label, the producers or indeed the composers of the scores, but it is a case of a natural exhaustion of good scores that are available to release. Well I am pleased to say that recently the label released the score to MORTE SOSPETTA DI UNA MINORENNE or DEATH OF A MINOR which was composed by Italian Maestro Luciano Michelini, the score is certainly an original and interesting one and has within it a number of broad thematic compositions, the soundtrack seems to be one of many styles as in there are a number of sides to the work stylistically, firstly we are treated to a pop orientated style that is fused with a dramatic and slightly darker ambience, the composer utilising infectious rhythms and tracks that are frequented with organ which as it says in the info about the score are very reminiscent of the sound achieved by Italian group GOBLIN when they worked on movies such as PROFUNDO ROSSO. Then we have a more subtle and lighter side to the proceedings in which the composer creates a more carefree and slightly humorous or positive atmosphere within a number of cues, plus there are the many action pieces and chase sequence music tracks so it is a score of variation as well as being original. Released in 1975 the movie was directed by Sergio Martino, with the main roles being taken on by Claudio Cassinelli, Mel Ferrer and Lia Tanzi, Set in Milan is focuses upon the disappearance of a number of minors which seem to be baffling the police, Police commissioner Germi, decides to take the investigation to the streets of the city and poses as a thief snatching purses etc in the hope of tracking down the perpetrators. An entertaining movie which moves along briskly keeping the audience interested and absorbed with a soundtrack that is equally as entertaining. This is the first time that the score has been released onto compact disc and as always Digit movies have produced an attractive and well packaged item which has striking art work and very good sound quality. Michelini is in my opinion one of the many Italian composers who worked in film that is so sadly overlooked and at times forgotten. This is a score that I think you will return to many times and with each outing it will surrender up something fresh and new. Please Digit movies more like this,it is with all the releases from Italy very hard to get inspired or excited about anything that comes out these days as there is just so much, but this I Highly recommended.
Composer Luciano Michelini, is really not that well represented when it comes to CD releases. I have always found his music very attractive and remember discovering him way back in the dim and distance past when I accidentally stumbled over his score to IL DECAMERONE NERO on the RCA label, ever since that delightful accident I have looked out for anything by this composer. The music for this crime/police thriller is in my humble opinion possible one of the composers best scores, and rates alongside soundtracks such as THE SICILIAN CLAN and 7 GOLDEN MEN. It contains a hard hitting main theme that is driven along by urgent sounding strings which are interspersed and punctuated by a just as aggressive sounding piano solo that is very reminiscent of the style and sound employed by Vladimir Cosma for THE AFFAIR OF THE CRAZY COP. It’s an infectious and powerful theme which re-occurs throughout the score in numerous guises and arrangements, but it is a piece that one never tires of as Michelini manages to keep it fresh vibrant and interesting on each outing. There is also a secondary theme which appears throughout the scores running time, this is a much lighter more easy going sounding affair that again utilises piano to a degree which is enhanced by the subtle support of the string section and a delicate touch of woodwind, the composition is a haunting one that is filled with romanticism which verges on the melancholy. Of course no score to a thriller or crime caper would be complete without the obligatory action or atonal cue and yes there are also a number of these included, the orchestration of these by Michelini is very interesting and even though they are at times not melodic there is something about them that is attractive, making the listener want to listen just to see if there is a smattering of a melody or maybe a reprise of one of the central themes, more often than not Michelini does not disappoint and one finds one self at one point immersed in an action cue or a tense atonal track to end up listening to something that is highly entertaining and melodic.
The score is performed in the main by the string section, although there are plenty of cues that take on a martial sounding with percussion. Snare drums etc taking the lead which are giving support to brass and woodwind sections. Track 10 is for me one of the scores highlights, urgent strings taking the lead with up-tempo percussion driving the track along whilst brass punctuate the piece with short bursts that are accompanied by dark sounding but hard nosed piano playing. Track 10 too is a delight, another variation of the secondary theme but this time more up beat, where Michelini brings the harpsichord into its own as a support for the string section. Things go even more up tempo in track number 24, as bongo lead percussion forms the background for a twangy sounding SHAFT-Like electric guitar which picks out an almost rock/disco theme. Indeed this is a wonderful example of the music of composer Luciano Michelini, and also a great example of Italian film scoring sounds and techniques. As always the CD is packaged and presented to the normal high standards that we have come to expect from Digit movies, it is a CD that you must have in your collection, because if you miss out on it you will certainly regret it.
There are a few words I could use and will use to describe this particular score, hard edged, delicious, wonderful, uplifting and also beautiful. I am amazed it took a record company so long to release this onto CD. Luciano Michelini is in my humble opinion one of the most underrated composer to come out of Italy; he has been responsible for numerous soundtracks that are far superior to the movies for which they were written. ANNA, QUEL PARTICOLARE PIACERE is certainly no exception to that rule, the composer has created a virtual smorgasbord of themes that are dramatic, romantic, poignant and just down right entertaining and haunting. Edda Dell Orso is a welcomed participant on this score, her soaring and unique vocals creating a fantastic listening experience for any one who has the good fortune to own this compact disc. Originally issued on a RCA LP (RCA SP 8049) back in 1973, this theme fest of a soundtrack did not seem to interest collectors until after it was long deleted, and now with this expanded CD release collectors would be stupid not to snap it up, it is everything that an Italian film music collector could want for, a text book score that is brimming to overflowing with some of the best compositions I have been privileged enough to hear for a long while, strings, piano, woods and a big band sound on some cues all come together to form a well written, masterfully orchestrated and balanced work. At times Michelini’s score puts me in mind of some of Franco Micalizzi’s work for the cinema, its easy listening and also romantically laced but at the same time hard hitting, upbeat and funky, with lots of the trademarks that we associate with cop thrillers from Cinecitta. Edda’s voice performed in unison with strings on track number 6, “La Giostra Dei Pensieri” is in a word stunning, and I would buy the CD for this track alone. Recommended? Yes it certainly is. This is a limited edition, and has an availability of just 500, with no plans to re-press, so go get it.
This latest release from the industrious Fin De Siecle Media record label and is a gem of a score from Italian composer Luciano Michelini. THE ISLAND OF THE FISHMEN, tells the story of a group of prisoners and guards that are shipwrecked and end up on what they think is a deserted island. In true Jules Verne and H. G. Wells style they soon find out that they are not alone and come across a Captain Nemo type character who is attempting to bring treasures from the lost city of Atlantis to the surface, aided by the islanders some of whom have mutated into amphibians. The glamour in the movie is provided by Barbara Bach, who has her fair share of scenes coming out of the water in a short cut costume. The film was obviously not a massive box office success, but it was a film if not taken too seriously many ended up enjoying, the American release of the movie was screened under the title of SCREAMERS, and was brought over to the States by Roger Corman. Michelini’s score embraces many styles, and is to be honest a delight to listen to. There are dramatic influences in a number of the tracks, but also the composer utilizes romantically laced themes as in track number 13, COSA RESTA DELL’AMORE and an almost disco sounding style on track number 10, which is entitled PALUDE, he also makes use of electronic sounds which are interspersed within the orchestral composition in track number 11. The soundtrack is presented wonderfully by Fin De Siecle, a six page digi pack with great front cover art work, and stills from the movie reproduced inside.