September 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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The Long Silence  
  CAM 4931862   [46:32]

  Amazon USA

Il Lungo Silenzio (The Long Silence) is an Italian political thriller set in the near future (as of the time of making in 1993), directed by Margarethe von Trotta, the German film-maker best known for The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975) and Rosa Luxemburg (1986).

The album comes with typically inelegant CAM layout, the insert including one paragraph outlining the plot of the film, while as usual for the label the music is presented in Dolby Surround. Unfortunately in this mode rather too much sound seems to be focused on the centre speaker to the detriment of the main stereo front pair. The disc opens and closes with the title theme. Both versions run 4:02, and sound so similar at first I thought the end was simply the opening repeated. In-fact they seem to be slightly different mixes of the same recording. The theme begins with a tight drum beat and a feel rather like that of the Eric Serra music the band in Subway play towards the end of that film. At least, it does before the histrionic soprano of Mariella Devia enters, turning the piece into the sort of overwrought pop-opera generally associated with the films of Italian horror director Dario Argento.

In-between there are 16 tracks of generic suspense-thriller music. Some of this music is so generic it could serve as a definition of the word cliché. Cues such as 'Dietro le Finestre' and 'Addio Alla Madre' could be library music, except that no director would take it off the shelf today unless making a deliberately corny spoof thriller. Even the parodies of this sort of music are now past their sell-by date. Other cues, such as 'In Morte di un Magistrato' combine choir and the sort of arpeggios Morricone would reprise for Wolf. The mass of lugubrious strings, bass-end piano and mournful flute all slips off the ears leaving very little impression, other than the thought that even the biggest names in film music can sometimes turn in endlessly repetitive, utterly routine scores. Of course it may well work fine in the film, but even the most dedicated Morricone fan will have trouble finding much of interest on the album. Apart from the characteristic opening and closing theme, this is anonymous fare. I strongly suspect that without Morricone's name on the cover this is one of the many scores which would have remained deservedly in the archives.

Gary S. Dalkin



Gary S. Dalkin


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