April 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Founder Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /April01/

Battista LENA Domani OST   CAM 501402-2 [42:48]
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One of the advantages(?) of being an older reviewer is that one remembers themes of long, long ago. Listening to the opening track, 'Domani', on this album, dredged up memories of the 1948 RKO film The Boy with Green Hair (music by Leigh Harline) and the song that is linked with it that had lyrics like 'There once was a boy, a strange enchanted boy…' Battista Lena quotes from this song in this opening cue - probably not surprisingly since Domani is, or features, a young boy. The story of this 2000 Italian production is set in central Italy where the population of a pleasant village lives peacefully and enjoys the local culinary speciality, the Cacchiano, a particular garlic-flavoured salami. But an earthquake upsets the lives and stirs the emotions of the inhabitants…

Lena uses a small chamber ensemble: trumpet, two clarinets, guitar, accordion, contrabass, percussions, violin and cello to produce easy-listening music that is preponderantly slow tempoed. The mood is mellow, nostalgic and sweetly romantic (especially for 'Notte con Agostino'); but, as appropriate, tinged with loss and tragedy. Often there are two, even three versions of a cue. For instance, 'Meco Teco' is first heard as a tango while North African rhythms permeate its second appearance. It has to be said that there is very little that is original here but the whole is put over with an attractive panache. Six "ballet suites" are included of which the fourth and sixth are the most interesting and lively; the former revisiting the tango and the latter in jazz format. There is an allusion to Michel Legrand's The Thomas Crown Affair music ('The Windmills of your mind stuff) in 'Ballet Suite 5'.

A pleasant undemanding ¾ hour easy listening experience.

Ian Lace

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