The Long Silence
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