from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Must hear CD: Yo-Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone 

If you would really like to bliss out listening to gorgeous music, I have just told you about one of the most amazing CDs to which I have ever listened. Ennio Morricone has written some of the most amazing and hauntingly beautiful music of the 20th century, largely for film. He has scored many film for Sergio Leone, including the Man with No Name trilogy with Clint Eastwood (with whom he also worked on “In the Line of Fire”) and both movies whose title begins with “Once upon a Time ...” He has worked extensively with both American and Italian directors.

And Yo-Yo Ma is simply a genius of a musician. He has collaborated with country musician Mark O’Connor, he has promoted music from the along the old Silk Road, and he is his generation’s outstanding cellist.

So what makes this album so special?

Morricone has rescored many of his pieces to take advantage of the artistry of Yo-Yo Ma. The cellist not only plays the melody, in other places he adds counterpoint or an obligato. The composer has arranged several mini suites to tie music together.

The first two tracks ties together selections from The Mission.
1. The Mission: Gabriel's Oboe
2. The Mission: The Falls

Next comes some selections from films directed by Giuseppe Tornatore:
3. Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Playing Love from The Legend of 1900
4. Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Nostalgia from Cinema Paradiso
5. Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Looking for You (Love Theme) from Cinema Paradiso
6. Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Malena (Main theme)
7. Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Remembering (Ricordare)*

We then get a mini-suite with his closest collaborator, Sergio Leone:
8. Sergio Leone Suite: Deborah's Theme from Once Upon A Time In America
9. Sergio Leone Suite: Cockeye's Song from Once Upon a Time in America
10. Sergio Leone Suite: Main Theme from Once Upon a Time in America
11. Sergio Leone Suite: Main Theme from Once Upon a Time in the West
12. Sergio Leone Suite: Ecstasy of Gold from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This is followed by a brief connection of two pieces from Brian DePalma films:
13. Brian DePalma Suite: Main Theme from Casualties of War
14. Brian DePalma Suite: Death Theme from The Untouchables

Morricone also wrote for TV, and he puts together three pieces from two items he scored for miniseries:
15. Moses and Marco Polo Suite: Journey from Moses
16. Moses and Marco Polo Suite: Theme from Moses
17. Moses and Marco Polo Suite: Main Theme from Marco Polo

Finally, there are two pieces from the Lady Caliph, a somewhat forgotten 1970 Italian film, “La Califfa.”
18. The Lady Caliph: Dinner
19. The Lady Caliph: Nocturne

You can listen to selections from all of the tracks [here http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002YCVXI/ref=pd_sxp_elt_l1/103-5666874-4809457#product-details], with either Windows Media Player or Real Player. One listen to Yo-Yo May intoning the theme from Gabriel’s oboe, the beautiful piece from “The Mission” is enough to totally engage me.

And you can read a review of the CD [here http://www.filmmusicsociety.org/news_events/features/2004/110304.html]

Despite the brilliance of his music, Morricone never won an Oscar,although he was nominated 5 times (for another film, the studio neglected to turn in the paperwork in a timely fashion). H has won British Oscars and Golden Globes. And music aficionados everywhere greatly admire his work.

One can read about Morricone’s music [here http://www.stanford.edu/group/resed/row/italiana/culture/music_scores_enniomorricon.htm]
or [here http://demo.classical.com/listen/infopopup3.php?order_view=4&rectrack_id=3221230105]. He has composed music for hundreds of films with most of the world’s great directors, as you can see by this [site http://www.mfiles.co.uk/composers/Ennio-Morricone.htm], which will give you a partial list of some of the films for which he has scored, and will also inform you that his relationship with Leone predates their long association in films because they were classmates.

At this link for [Amazon http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000WFZ/mfiles09/103-5666874-4809457] you will be able to listen to snippets from a variety of Morricone’s works.

If you love good music, you are likely to fall in love with this CD. Go listen. Were my copy a vinyl record, I would already be wearing out the grooves.
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