“Beyond the images”
by Mirko Schipilliti
The generations of composers who have grown both with and for the cinema, and who have ended up being completely identified to it or to certain film directors, can only confirm the need for a serious school where the principles of the art of composing can be given so that images may remain forever within music, within a melody, a timbre or a chord, and that they may instantly penetrate that moment on film. Writing for the cinema has also become a way to break up or reduce the 20th century waste, that was created by both contemporary composers and the public, by facing the problem that communication between the artist and the listener must be made easier, bearing in mind that the music being composed will within no time at all reach a very wide audience. Apart from the harmonic relationship between Rota-Fellini, Herrman-Hitchcock, Ennio Morricone, his time spent between cinema and avantguard, had very strong links with Sergio Leone ‘s films, his first success came with For a Fistful of Dollars (1964):the trumpet soloist has an ornamental role with a neoclassic flavour to it but which becomes haunting by the static dance rhythm that accompanies it ,even if it is within great cantabile Italian music. The immediate melodiousness so extraordinarily functional, reaches its highest point in Once upon a time in America (1984): if Leone declared that Morricone ‘s music could make his characters come alive, then here the relationship between the sound track and the film is so complete, from the well-known opening to the desolate Poverty ,where the solo pieces seem to be voices of shameless existential solitude, to Cockeye ‘s Song ,which is an example of Morricone ‘s ability to work with just a few instruments, up to the closing Deborah ‘s theme, where the instrumental use of the voice opens up timeless passages of melancholic poetry represents the the author at his finest; even the 3.intrusion of the well-known Amapola in the film takes on incredibly medative tones. Instrumentation is not taken for granted, timbre and soloist pieces recreate an inner dimension to the images, within an exceptional poetry of feelings, memory, nostalgia: in New Cinema Paradise (1988) by Giuseppe Tornatore, Morricone goes deeper into the importance of the soloist melody with respect to the film: violins, wind instruments, the pianoforte, string quartets, guitars all become segments of a choir of characters, each one with its own story to tell. In this way John Williams ,in memory of the holocaust, in Steven Spielberg ‘s Schindler ‘s List (1993)uses the violin, a traditional Jewish instrument, with its melancholic pessimism to give voice to the masses desperate in unison: the version presented goes through the three roles that the theme takes on during the film, moving from the expressive separation of the pianoforte, to the painful lament of the violin, to the choral ending. Concise and fascinating melodic lines, that last an eternity and with recreative and regenerative continuity, are revived by Astor Piazzolla ,where expressive concentration makes the most of simple means to evoke deep and intense emotional movements. In Oblivion, for Henry IV by Marco Bellocchio (1984),the sad solitude of the bandoneon is alive within the phrases emersed by a few gestures which then develop through sour or sinuous angularity, baroque fioriture and Italian cantability to join together snug intimacy and dramatic extroversion. Melodics can also be used for pieces with character, Henry Mancini did just so in the Pink Panther saga (1964)about Inspector Clouseau, with those unmistakable fifth parallels amid jazz incursions, few people, however, remember the ironic almost grotesque melancholy of the other two musical themes included in the suite of this CD: the destructive So Smooth on the violin, which becomes comic because of its contrast with the humour of the film, and the disenchanted bitterness of The Greatest Gift. A different approach in Moon River, the very famous comment on the winning love story between Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany ‘s by Blake Edwards (1961), through the incredible charm of a simple melody joined together with delicate harmonization. The importance of the colour of harmony and the climate of the acoustics become significant in Michael Nyman ‘s minimalism in Piano Lessons by Jane campion (1993),where Big my secret rests on seductive timbres with minimal melodic movements, ornamentalisation and static chords. In a similiar way, Alessandro Cogo in Alex Melody goes through 1970s style musical songs-scenery but within a new-age context. American cinema knows how to value seductive sound horizons in orchestration for melodies that areoften elementary: in the main theme of Forrest Gump by Robert Zemeckis (1994), Alan Silvestri reveals the innocent ingenuity of the film ‘s fairy-tale atmosphere in a soothing lullabye through careful instrumental writing that is luminous and transparent. It is Disney, however, that continues to enchant audiences by proposing a pot-pourri of songs, with pieces that emphasize the personality of the animated characters. In the suite from Beauty and the Beast ,Belle is the song about care-free love sung by the main character, Beauty and the Beast exalts the sweetness of the dancing characters, while the climate of the party spreads in Be our guest; In Aladdin the pseudo-musical and post-introductory variety turn style is taken to the limit: Arabian Nights introduces the troubled oriental story; Aladdin and Princess Jasmine ‘s love in a Whole New World is celebrated on a flying carpet; in A Friend like me the genie of the lamp praises friendship. In The Lion King, as well as the African tribal rhythm, Elton John ‘s songs are brought to young ears: in I just can ‘t wait to be King Simba dreams about the day when he will reign with his father ‘s same wisdom; Can You Feel the Love is a romantic scene between Simba and Nava; Circle of Life sees the birth of Simba and the cruel but sweet continuity of the life cycle so vital to all creatures.