|1.||Il rogo della strega||1:20|
|2.||L'arrivo delle guardie||0:33|
|3.||Il castello di Melissa||2:20|
|5.||Il ritratto di Eleonora (Tema d'amore)||1:46|
|7.||La morte di Luigi||1:40|
|8.||Il bagno di Eleonora||0:59|
|11.||La strega / I'inquisizione / la tortura||1:56|
|12.||La spia / id diario||1:18|
|13.||Le guardie del Conte / Don Guacomo / le guardie||1:04|
|15.||Ballo di corte||2:36|
|17.||La disperazione di Eleonora||1:19|
|19.||L'incendio / la rissa||2:03|
|20.||Tema di Marianna||1:54|
|21.||Marianna si sveglia||1:02|
|24.||La morte del traditore||1:05|
|25.||L'assalto al castello||4:33|
|26.||Requiem in sol minore||6:09|
|27.||Love was fatal to me||4:25|
|Total Album Time:||59:56|
Review: Il Conte di Melissa
2 / 5 Stars
Listening to and critiquing a score like Marco Werba's Il Conte di Melissa has the potential for being a thankless chore: I haven't seen the film (which is as of now unreleased in the United States) and I don't speak very good Italian (which cripples my gleaning anything substantive from track titles). So please accept these qualifying statements as a bit of a penance for trying to divine something intelligent purely from the music itself. This new CD from the Hexacord label is a self-proclaimed Limited Edition, "World Premiere Recording", so I guess somebody somewhere has got to be pretty pumped to have this music available. But after a few listens, this reviewer discovered very little to get terribly excited about.
The best I can figure about the film is from the photos on Hexacord's rather spare packaging: it seems to be a Restoration period piece, replete with witches, tortured peasants, evil noblemen with pointy goatees, and the brunette on the cover (Melissa, we can safely assume) tying it all together somehow.
Considering this broad canvas, Werba's music is smaller than you'd expect. Centered around a downbeat but very capable central theme for cello (heard everywhere, but first in "Il rogo della strega"), the score is more of a chamber piece, backed by too many great-sounding-but-undeniably-synth elements and too few live players to give it any real orchestral heft. The main theme pops up again and again, as played by a handful of featured solo instrumentalists, such as guitar, harpsichord, flute, and the requisite wordless female voice. They serve to break the monotony for a while, but not enough to sustain a full hour of listening. This is finely crafted music which I can imagine works well in the film, but divorced from the screen the relentless repetition becomes overwhelming and ultimately numbing.
As wallpaper for your booth at the renaissance fair, this stuff is probably pure gold. But as a specific listening experience, Il Conte di Melissa starts out slow and stubbornly stays there. Worth noting separately is the last track, a single-style arrangement, English and Latin translation of the principal love theme titled "Love Was Fatal To Me". Probably pretty exotic to the folks listening in Italy (the same way any Italian opera adds musical credibility to even the most pretentious Engligh-language films), it's vocal styling sadly reflects an inadvertent comic tone. To put it bluntly, "is this what we sound like when we try to sing Italian?" I sure hope not.
Postscript: Composer Marco Werba has been pretty vocal about his dissatisfaction with this review. He says the score has been getting great reviews everywhere else (which I don't doubt... it's really not as bad as he thinks I think it is). Moreover, he concluded that I am not qualified to make any judgments about his music. I was crushed.Matt Barry
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