Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








17 Tracks (Total Playing Time =70:03)



1. I KNEW I LOVED YOU (4:53) - performed by Celine Dion
2. THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (6:44) - performed Quincy Jones, featuring Herbie Hancock
3. *ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (3:40) - featuring Bruce Springsteen, guitar
4. *CONTRADINA (4:27) - performed by Andrea Bocelli
5. THE ECSTASY OF GOLD (3:50) - performed by Mettallica
6. *MALENA (4:15) - performed by Yo-Yo Ma
7. *COME SAIL AWAY (5:03) - performed by Renee Fleming
8. *GABRIEL'S OBOE (2;50) - performed by Roma Sinfonietta
9. CONMIGO(4:16) - performed by Daniela Mercury, featuring Eumir Deodato
10.*LA LUZ PRODIGIOSA (5:04) - performed by Dulce Pontes
11. LOVE AFFAIR (4:49) - performed by Chris Botti
12. JE CHANGERAS D'AVIS (3:51) - performed by Vaness and The O's
13. LOST BOYS CALLING (5:37) - performed by Roger Waters
14.*THE TROPICAL VARIATION (3:29) - performed by Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra
15.*COULD HEAVEN BE (2:18) - performed by Denyce Graves
16.*ADDIO MONTI (2:56) - performed by Taro Hakase
17.*CINEMA PARADISO (1:52) - performed by Accademia Nazionale Italiana

* = orchestrated and conducted by Ennio Morricone

Track to track transitions composed, orchestrated and conducted by Ennio Morricone. Performed by The Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra. Recorded and mixed by Fabio Venturi. Editing: Fabio Venturi, Davide Palmiotto.Produced by Luigi Caiola. Artwork and Graphic Design: Daniela Boccadoro. Compilation by Ars Latina.

Sony Classical 88697-06590-2

Rating: ***1/2

Ennio Morricone will be receiving an Honorary Oscar this year and it is richly deserved for his over 400 film scores composed over at least four decades.

Normally I don't care much for this type of hodge-podge collection with so many different performers from the pop and classical world. But this one has enough to keep it listenable and that's due to the major force behind it and reason for its existence -- Ennio Morricone. He has even composed short transitions between each of the tracks on this CD.

First, I'll mention the tracks that seemed the weakest.

The opening track has the song, "I Knew I Loved You" based on the lovely "Deborah's Theme" from ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. The lyrics were written by the incredibly talented husband and wife songwriting team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Unfortunately, I don't think Celine Dion's high-voltage singing style suits this song. It's a very beautiful song and deserves much more subtle singing in keeping with how the gorgeous melody was used in the film. But Ms. Dion has the star power to go with her strong voice so she's an obvious choice to put over this exceptional song.

Other tracks I didn't think were all that great were Bruce Springsteen's guitar solo on track 3 from ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. But the orchestra sounds fine, conducted by Morricone. The same weakness is heard on Mettalica's raucous version of the famous "Ecstasy of Gold" theme from THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Also the bland performance by Vanessa and The O's is nothing much. But the worst track of all would be Roger Water's horrible "singing" on "Lost Boys Calling" from THE LEGEND OF 1900, which I wrote about in my review back in 2000. It's also one of the longest tracks on this CD and just drones on and on. Yet it has good guitar licks by Van Halen.

Now to the tracks I enjoyed the most.

They include tracks 2 (a swinging arrangement by Quincy Jones with Herbie Hancock on keyboards), 6 (solo by the brilliant cellist Yo-Yo Ma), 9 (the delightfully light and breezy Daniela Mercury with Eumir Deodato), 10 (the highly emotional voice of Dulce Pontes with Morricone's orchestral accompaniment), 11 (laid back jazz by Chris Botti's group). There are two fine songs with lyrics by Leonie Gane: "Come Sail Away" (track 7) featuring the luscious voice of Renee Fleming; and "Could Heaven Be"(track 15) with the darker hued and sultry Denyce Graves.

The most unusual Morricone track is "The Tropical Variation" (track 14), with Caval performed by Teodossi Spassov.

Overall, I'd think the classical tracks (4, 6, 7, 15, 16) and Morricone only tracks (8, 14, 17) come off the best. But many of the other tracks are also worthwhile too, especially tracks 2, 9, 10 and 11.

The CD ends with one of Morricone's best known and most beautiful themes from CINEMA PARADISO, which is strangely the shortest track on the CD.

It would be worth having this very good compilation just to hear the diversity of talents having a go at Morricone's memorable melodies.

Renee Fleming said it best: "Not only the film industry, but the music industry at large, are deeply indebted to this phenomenal composer whose expressivity embraces so many genres with such integrity and creativity."

Anyone who loves film music from the past four decades would agree that...

"We All Love Ennio Morricone!"


--Roger Hall, 21 February 2007

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Morricone Conducts Morricone
(DVD: The Munich Concert 2004)



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