Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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Monday • 2010 April 26

Ennio Morricone joins us again for Claudia Cardinale Month.

Um, but once again I think we'll pick a Morricone score other than C'era una volta il West. Hey, Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the greatest soundtracks of all time, but we'll get around to it later. Maybe it will be Charles Bronson month again next November. (I doubt we're going to have a Henry Fonda month.)

But Morricone scored several movies starring Claudia Cardinale. The music for Corleone is wonderful. 10 tracks of it were released on a CD in 1995 (along with 12 tracks of Morricone's music from the movie Il Pentito).

Even though that release boasted of being the "WORLD PREMIERE COMPLETE RECORDING", a CD containing 22 tracks came out in 2007.

Ennio Morricone's Corleone is Soundtrack of the Week #110.

The first track, "Addio a Palermo", begins with a very "Moonlight Sonata" kind of melody, played on piano with strings accompaniment. It segues into a classic Morricone structure, smoothly undulating chains of notes. Then it's back to the initial theme again.

The second track, "Corleone", is in 6/8, as "Addio a Palermo" was as well. But that meter in the album opening had a much more even feel despite deliberate variation of tempo. "Corleone" sticks remorselessly to one slowish pace and stresses the first of every three notes, hammering the time signature into your brain. After developing a suspenseful atmosphere in this way, organ comes in with first a melody, then an on/off playing of one note held down. It's a hypnotic piece, and classic Morricone.

"Una Voce Dal Carcere" is a beautiful romantic piece for strings and piano. "Rivolta Popolare" suggests tension and excitement, again with strings and piano but with winds added near the end. "Addio al Figlio" is a reprise of the Beethovenesque "Addio a Palermo" and is followed by a reprise of "Corleone".

The seventh track on the record is "Cospirazione", a mysterious and atmospheric number that makes use of sustained notes from the wind section to create a kind of musical fog. Quotes from "Corleone" float to the surface. "In Tribunale" sounds like Morricone channeling Bernard Herrmann's more ethereal writing.

"Alla Donna" is a variation on the "Addio" theme. "Cassandra" is a suspense cue. Then there's another arrangement of "Una Voce Dal Carcere" followed by a "classical music" cue, "Celebrazione e Colazione". After this come reprises of "Addio a Palermo", "Cospirazione", "Corleone", "Una Voce Dal Carcere", "Addio a Palermo" again, "Cospirazione" again, "In Tribunale", "Una Voce Dal Carcere" again and one more "Addio a Palermo". (Somebody must have really loved "Addio a Palermo".)

The last track on the record is jazz source music in a hot New Orleans style. While the earlier release of the Corleone soundtrack managed to hit all the major themes, it didn't include this unique track.