Tag Archives: sante maria romitelli

ISABELLA-DUCHESSA DEI DIOVALI.

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I am a great fan of music from Italian movies, I as many of you know have for many years promoted and championed the Italian sound that composers such as Morricone, Rota, Nicolai, Rustichelli, Fidenco, Romitelli and others achieved with original sounding compositions and their quirky and innovative orchestrations on numerous soundtracks that hailed from Cinecitta. I also tried to make sure that collectors were aware of the many talented soloists that were behind this unique sound. However there are a few movies that came from Italy that I must admit I just don’t like, this includes the genres of the Peplum and also films that have a period setting. I always felt that such movies were a little lack lustre and also the musical scores that were penned for these at times boring feature films were also less than riveting in the originality department. There were a fair few Peplum scores released on digit movies in recent years that have failed to outshine the great art work that adorns the compact disc covers, as I have already stated this is my own personal preferences here, Peplums are for me un-interesting and also very slow paced and to be blunt include some of the most wooden acting I have ever witnessed, so I suppose it is hard for composers to be inspired when faced with such material. Kronos records are due to release a trio of soundtracks all of which are from period or peplum genres, ISABELLA-DUCHESSA DEI DIOVALI is one of these, the score is composed by a Maestro who I feel is very underrated, Sante Maria Romitelli. The film itself sounds interesting but there again I cannot profess to have seen it. When Duke de Frissac refuses to give in to the ambitious and threatening Baron Von Nutter’s request for his land and titles Von Nutter plots against the Duke and assassinates him. But the Baron is unaware that the Duke’s young daughter Isabella is witness to the murderous act. The child is rescued by the loyal Melicour and raised by him amongst his fellow gypsies. Isabella never forgets the murder of her Father and also the coward who carried out the act and once she is grown into a beautiful and fierce woman, The Duchess Of The Devils strikes back to avenge her family and reclaim what is rightfully hers. Romitelli, s score which has never before been released in any format reflects perfectly the period in which the movie is set, and the composer utilizes to great effect harpsichord and strings that evoke an atmosphere of romance and also eloquence. The pairing of harpsichord and strings is one of the main foundations of the score and the instruments re-emerge throughout the proceedings and on each outing reaffirm the period sound, which is dramatic and romantically laced with a hint of the baroque.

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The score also includes a number of gypsy violin solo’s these at times I must admit sound more like Hebrew influenced tracks but are nevertheless effective and at times heartfelt and highly emotive, then at other points within the work the violin is handed a more upbeat melody which does posses a gypsy influenced sound or at least what we perceive to be gypsy inclined. The work contains interesting instrumentation via the use of soft woodwinds and the sparing use of electric guitar as more of a background and supportive tool within the work, either underlining a musical passage or punctuating it. Romitelli also employs a fuzzy sounding guitar within the work and in a handful of cues makes good use of choir that relays at times a military mood to the listener but also later in the score alters to a more sacred and reverent sound. Organ too is used on occasion, only sparingly and momentarily at key moments within tracks that are of the more tense and atmospheric variety. The composer also provides the score with a few galloping tracks, timpani and percussive elements combine to create an up-tempo backing and the composer then introduces a lone horn into the equation which is both dramatic and melancholy in its sound and presence. So ISABELLA-DUCHESSA DEI DIOVALI could be the exception to the rule when it comes to music from period dramas. It is I have to say a pleasant enough work and one that I also have to say I listened to through twice, there are dramatic and tense moods present here and also there is a real sense of romance and sumptuous luxury within the work. I many ways the central theme reminded me somewhat of SEDUCED AND ABANDONED by Carlo Rustichelli and also had many of the qualities that manifested themselves within IMPERIAL VENUS by Lavagnino. This is one to watch out for, it is available for pre order now, but does not get its official release until June 28th. Great cover art work and nice clear sound another good release from Kronos.

Click here to pre-order.
http://kronosrecords.com/index.html

QUESTA VOLTA TI FACCIO RICCO.

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In the October of 2006 Hillside CD production issued the full version of SPARA GRINGO SPARA, a little while afterwards in the early part of 2007 BEAT records released for the first time the excellent soundtrack to YETI,  what do these wonderful titles have in common, well yes you guessed it the composer Sante Maria Romitelli. A little while after these releases, FIN DE SIECLE records which is based in SWEDEN,or at least was because releases from this label seemed to have been put on hold for a while, which is a great shame. Anyway Fin de Siecle issued  another wonderful soundtrack by this underrated composer which was plucked form the dusty depths of the archives somewhere in Rome and restored it wonderfully giving us the Italian film music collector another gem to savour and relish. Romitelli’s score for this comedy romp is in a word entertaining, but then I would not just be able to leave it at that, it is an interesting and certainly original sounding work that I know will delight and amuse every collector who purchases it. The soundtrack fuses many styles which include jazz and a big band sounds that are intertwined with dramatic and romantic writing to create a varied yet balanced menu of sounds. The opening track is a perfect example of the many styles and types of music that are encompassed with Romitellis score, it begins with a fast paced almost madcap sounding composition performed by jazz flavoured brass backed by driving percussion and interspersed with shrill woods strategically placed along the way, the pace of this soon slows and we are treated to a jazzy sounding solo trumpet which is enhanced by the use of brushed drums and almost sleazy sounding electric guitar and a muted trumpet. It then returns to the original tempo of the cue the trumpet this time taking the lead so in the first 5 mins or so of the score one is hooked waiting for more of the same, but then the composers switches styles, tempos and surprises the listener at each cue, the second track being a more or less traditional sounding Italian or Sicilian sounding track, a jaunty little ditty performed by brass and woods in the main with piccolo taking on the lead at one point within the proceedings. Track three TEMA DI SCOTTY is an even bigger surprise, Romitelli creates a bagpipe sound with woods and brass with underlying drums which are played in a slightly martial manner. And then we are taken aback by the contents of track 4, YOU AND I. Wordless female vocals courtesy of the one and only true Diva of Italian film scores Edda Dell Orso, are delicately enhanced by the utilization of romantic strings, gracefully placed harpsichord and brass. Overall this is a delightful soundtrack, and a solid example of the work of Sante Maria Romitelli, who’s scores have always pleased but maybe have not been given a chance to entertain collectors by record labels up until now. Certainly one for the collection. Sound quality is very good, and the CD is packaged well with nice art work and informative notes.

Spara Gringo Spara.

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Another Spaghetti western score from the late 1960s that has to be referred to as a classic example of Italian film scoring. The music is by the seasoned composer Sante Maria Romitelli, who provides us with a score that just bursts with energy and vibrant original musical content. It boasts a number of up tempo almost beat/pop tracks which are entertaining, foot tapping stuff. The score also includes a number of tracks that can be categorised as dramatic, symphonic and near operatic, like many scores for westerns which were produced in Italy during the 1960s and 1970s the soundtrack features performances on electric guitar, harpsichord, trumpet and organ, which are either as solo instruments or as a combination of all of these elements to create a score that is not only perfect for the movie it was written for, but also has the ability to stand alone away from the images and remain an entertaining and interesting work. SPARA GRINGO SPARA is a soundtrack that is made up of themes for the films principal characters. For example TEMA DI STARK (track number 7) is a powerhouse of a cue, it begins with an organ motif which is joined and eventually overwhelmed by strings and brass, this then leads into an electric guitar solo, backed up by organ and vibes, the track develops into a full blown version of the theme for Stark, which is carried along by the string section with organ and guitar making entrances along the way, certainly stirring and inspiring stuff. There are also a handful of compositions on the soundtrack that can be described as suspense cues, not really musical or thematic, but nevertheless go to make up an interesting part of this score. Another great release from the GDM/Hillside partnership, hopefully more CAM soundtracks will be issued on their label,as items such as BURY THEM DEEP, ONE MORE FOR HELL, and TO THE LAST DROP OF BLOOD, all by composer Nico Fidenco,have been a great success for the label and its owner/producer Lionel Woodman. They too have released a number of Italian western scores by composers such as Gianni Marchetti andRobby Poitevin which have been equally successful. The CD is packaged well, with striking art work and the sound quality is amazing. Well worth a listen, as I am confident that once in the CD player it may stay there for a while.