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L’ULTIMO DEI CORLEONESI – Ennio Morricone

February 13, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Clark Douglas

If composers were construction workers, I’m pretty sure that I would want Ennio Morricone to build my house. There is not another composer working today who is as reliable and consistent as Morricone, no one who creates such excellent and admirable music on such a regular basis. At his best, Morricone takes us to the heights of musical ecstasy, showing us levels of beauty that we had previously only fantasized about. At his worst, Morricone writes difficult, challenging, harsh music that is easy to admire but incredibly difficult to listen to. Even if you hate the album, you have a hard time saying anything bad about it, because it’s done so well.

In every Morricone score, there is nearly always something beautiful, and there is nearly always something difficult. While Morricone has certainly written some extremely engaging scores dominated by suspense (such as last year’s “La Sconosciuta”), many Morricone fans base their purchases not on how much is worth listening to (because surely all of it is), but how much is actually listenable. In the case of “L’Ultimo dei Corleonesi”, I’m sorry to say that the level of difficult material is really pretty high.

It doesn’t start like that. Morricone opens with a fabulous piece, “Il Mito Del Male”, which sounds like it should accompany the creation of Frankenstein’s monster. That’s all well and good, until you realize that this movie is a film about the rise of the Corleonesi clan in Italy. Interestingly enough, the film ends with the arrest of one of my distant relatives, so you can imagine my excitement to discover that Ennio Morricone wrote music to accompany the film portrayal of the arrest of someone who I am related to! Within a year, I’m sure that story will have changed to Morricone using me as the inspiration for the entire score.

Then again, maybe not, because then I would be accusing myself of being a rather uninspiring guy. Much of the music is dark and bleak, and yes, very difficult. Oh, not all of it… “Scoperto” and “Clandestino” are very engaging suspense cues, and “Clandestino” is a fine piece of action. Plus there’s “Borsellino E Falcone”, one of those trademark Morricone themes that are oh-so-lovely. But for every engaging cue, there’s a piece like “Nella Tana” which is just rather difficult to sit through from start to finish.

The mid-section of the album (tracks 6-9) is probably the weakest portion, but things pick up a little in “Braccato”, a brief but urgent piece for strings. “Apparente Calma” is very tranquil and dreamlike, and a couple of the later cues return to Frankenstein-like gothic organ music, very fun. The album ends on a very strange piece, the folk-inspired suspense cue “Per Tre”, which is some freaky stuff for mandolin and woodwinds. it’s a very unnerving way to close the album. Like all Morricone scores, this one has merit, but it’s probably only a release for his more avid fans. In the meantime, I will continue to eagerly await the sequel, which will focus on the dark and twisted beginnings of a distant American relative of Corleonesi clan, plotting grand schemes of evil while posing as a music reviewer…

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Il Mito Del Male (3:24)
  • Borsellino e Falcone (3:46)
  • Scoperto (3:35)
  • Senza Respiro (2:16)
  • Clandestino (4:23)
  • Nella Tana (4:38)
  • Fuggiasco (3:41)
  • Luce di Luna (2:08)
  • Notte di Angoscia (3:38)
  • Braccato (1:44)
  • Apparente Calma (3:13)
  • I Corleonesi (3:49)
  • Nascosti (2:58)
  • Sacralita Negativa (2:29)
  • Inseguito (2:28)
  • Per Tre (4:56)

Running Time: 56 minutes 06 seconds

RAI Trade FRT-424 (2007)

Music composed and conducted by Ennio Morricone. Orchestrations by Ennio Morricone. Recorded and mixed by Fabio Venturi. Album produced by Ennio Morricone.

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