May 2000 Film Music CD Reviews Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Nicola PIOVANI Dear Diary (Caro Diaro)    OST    PACIFIC TIME PTE-8523-2 [26:31] 

Short but sweet. This is an extraordinary but fascinating score for an equally extraordinary and fascinating (but ultimately frustrating) film. The film comprises three disparate episodes revealing the thoughts of the director, Nanni Moretti, who plays himself: on a Vespa tour of Rome, island hopping in Southern Italy and seeking medical counselling for an incurable itch that eventually is diagnosed as Hodgkinson's disease. Along the way, Moretti wryly comments on suburbia's stranglehold on cities, rampant tourism, his spite for film critics and the Italian obsession with American TV. He even manages to interview Jennifer Beals about her role in Flashdance Nicola Piovani responds with an inventive score proving, once again, that the Italians seem to be the only ones with truly original and inventive voices in film music just now. The album comprises only twelve cues, averaging two minutes long, built from the simplest of themes that are repeated over and over but made interesting by the use of imaginative combinations of small groups of instruments that enter at different intervals, and interesting modulations and vibrant rhythms. For the opening cue `Caro Diaro' piano, guitar and strings play an intimate little tune that has a sense of loneliness as Moretti rides through empty streets on his Vespa. When I saw the film I was struck how cleverly the music was attuned to the movements of the motorcycle and the surroundings. Each of the five little cues are appealing: some have a slight syncopation, one has a jazzy pizzicato effect and another, the more relaxed `Medici', has a lovely romantic melody. The second group of cues under the heading: `Palombella rossa', uses piano, cymbalon (or similar-sounding instrument), xylophone and accordion as well as some strings and a little brass. The music is by turn a little sad, swaggering, dance-like and carnival-grotesque - and very Italian! Again short repeated figures are used with great resource. The final three cues under the collective title, `La messa e' finita' exhibit more of the same with some dramatic, slightly sour material in the tango rhythms of the opening title cue. The second cue relaxes into waltz time coloured by Nino Rota/Fellini type clowning and for the final cue an echoing saxophone with piano and vibraphone embroiders the earlier tango stuff.

An interesting and perversely addictive score.


Ian Lace



Ian Lace


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