It's amazing to think that these 42 minutes are representative of what was a three
and a half hour film in its original domestic format. The truth of it is that Rota's
music was used reasonably sparingly throughout. It's a film of dazzling colour,
wardrobe, scenery, and detail. A wall-to-wall scoring approach would not have been
The longest sequence requiring musical accompaniment is the poignant finale, when
the proud Prince Farbrizio Salina (Burt Lancaster) suffers to see his country's
future at a grand ball. Here we get Verdi's "Valzer Brillante" alongside Rota's
own "Mazurka", "Controdanza", "Polka",
"Quadriglia", "Galop", and "Valzer Del Commiato".
This all occupies the album and film's final quarter. Preceding that is the rich anthemic
material portraying the Sicilian nobility with a grandeur that is more intimate than processional.
"Titoli Di Testa" opens with the major fanfare statement of his Excellency's theme.
It's like an adagio adapted for regal announcement; such is the Prince's pain. This moves into
a string section used repeatedly in the film to underscore his link with history and tradition.
There's also subdued material to depict the turbulence inherent in a marriage between the
children of enemies. This section of score proper is over all-too-soon before we're into the
aforementioned extended dance card.
Like the film itself, the album is a masterpiece that may take time to impress you with its
genius. Once it's caught you however, you'll marvel at Rota's magic.