January 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Armando TROVAIOLI
Il Profeta and La Matriaca  
  OSTs
  GDM 2026   [72:24]

Il Profeta/La Matriaca

Two scores from relatively obscure Italian productions made in the late sixties.

Il Profeta (AKA: Mr. Kinky/The Prophet) released in 1968 is one of many 'hippy' inspired comedies that littered those uninhibited days of yore and the main theme 'Titoli' is just what you might expect, a swinging piece of pop fluff with fashionable (for the time) brass flourishes. Anyone familiar with this cinematic era will instantly recognise the style. And this theme gets many work-outs, most notably on the manic ragtime 'Versione Clavicembalo' and the aptly named 'Rumba-Shake'. Other than this there is another recurring theme introduced inauspiciously on 'Tema d'amore-Raga Indiano' in an awkward, unattractive Sitar version and this piece too gets a whole host of interpretations, including brass band on 'Tema d'amore-Versione Marcia' and rock n' roll on 'Tema d'amore-versione Shake'.

Interminable variations on one or two themes can become rapidly wearisome and despite the nostalgic value of the times, I'm sorry to say that this is just so much inconsequential fluff. While I'm sure there will be those who enjoy such things, Trovaioli's music just isn't a very good example of the genre.

In complete contrast, at least in musical style, La Matriarca (AKA: The Libertine/The Matriarch) (1969) is unabashedly romantic and while it may be an improvement on the previously heard frothy comedy pop, it does have one fatal flaw. Only one theme, played over and over again.

'Titoli' is slushy romantics in the continental style and to be fair, it's not too bad, but from here on it is repeated over the course of nine cues with only mild variation, the low-light being the seven minute plus 'Dream Version', which at that length is just too much to endure. There's even the obligatory vocal take with 'L'Amore Dice Ciao'.

I'm baffled to understand why anyone would feel this material was worth releasing. Although the La Matriarca melody is more appealing that anything from Il Profeta, your patience soon begins to wear thin as it is repeated ad nauseam. In fact I defy anyone other than perhaps the composer himself to say that they would enjoy listening to this right the way through. Okay, select two or three tracks from the entire CD and it's acceptable, but as it stands this provides such limited value it's almost shocking.

Even allowing for the fact that I quite liked the La Matriarca theme, I really can't say very much that's positive about this release. There just isn't enough different material to justify it. Sadly all we have is a self-indulgent, at times monotonous affair that will only appeal to completists or those who crave repetition.

Mark Hockley

* one paracetamol another paracetamol

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