Album: Malèna

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Album:

Malèna

Artist: Ennio Morricone
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Label: Virgin Records

It’s rare when a composer forges an artistic bond with a director that encompasses several films over the years, and rarer still when a musician has that relationship with two different filmmakers. Ennio Morricone’s collaboration with the late director Sergio Leone on a series of so-called spaghetti Westerns has assumed almost mythic proportions. But, beginning with Cinema Paradiso, the Roman scoring maestro has also fashioned a latter-day bond with director Giuseppe Tornatore that has produced music of a wholly different color, character, and emotional…

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It’s rare when a composer forges an artistic bond with a director that encompasses several films over the years, and rarer still when a musician has that relationship with two different filmmakers. Ennio Morricone’s collaboration with the late director Sergio Leone on a series of so-called spaghetti Westerns has assumed almost mythic proportions. But, beginning with Cinema Paradiso, the Roman scoring maestro has also fashioned a latter-day bond with director Giuseppe Tornatore that has produced music of a wholly different color, character, and emotional resonance. Malèna takes its place as one of their finest achievements. The composer has called the film one of his toughest assignments: music that must underscore both comedy and pathos, romance and tragedy—often in the same musical passage. The main theme here is vintage Morricone, filled with memorably melodic grace and simple dignity. The score evokes the story’s setting (wartime Sicily) and its troubling meditation on the lasting effects of prejudice, sexism, and jealousy with a deceptive effortlessness that’s also a Morricone trademark. Distinctly European and elegantly subtle, Malèna also marks the composer’s 40th anniversary in film scoring. —Jerry McCulley

Related Works

Film:Malèna (2000)

Malèna

Giuseppe Tornatore

When 12-year-old Renato, riding through his small Italian town on his new bicycle, sees the voluptuous Malèna, little does he know he’s launching on an infatuation that will carry him through the tumultuous days of World War II. Malèna begins as an enraptured depiction of Renato’s adolescent mind—the way he stares, hypnotized, at Malèna’s garters pressing through the material of her tight skirt, or his frustrated rebellion against the indignity of wearing short pants—but soon transforms into a portrait of small-town prejudice. Malèna’s looks spark lust and…

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