Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger



Nicola PIOVANI  Tu Ridi (includes Mas Alla Del Jardin) Pacific Time PTE 8508-2



With well over 80 film scores to his credit, Nicola Piovani has been writing charming themes for films since 1970. Since his 1998 Oscar win for Life if Beautiful, Pacific Time has released a number of his scores for the North American audience.

Amongst them is the album Tu Ridi, which includes two gorgeous scores from the films, 1998's Tu Ridi (You Laugh) and 1997's Mas Alla Del Jardin (Beyond the Garden). In classic Piovani tradition, both revolve around compelling, lyrical main themes that are expressed strongly throughout the score with varied instrumentation. Piovani albums are easy to love for fans who love film music for those unforgettable themes. His main themes are always fabulous and memorable, and repeated enjoyably in different styles and tones in almost every track. There is very little background "filler" music to endure, as it were.

Whether Piovani simply selects the most melodic cues for release or he only writes melodic music, the entire listening experience of his albums is notably effortless and pleasing. His orchestration in both scores is phenomenal--this is one composer who has an intuitive grasp of the perfect blend of sounds and effects to pull heartstrings.

Tu Ridi's main theme is an enchanting tune with somewhat of a yearning, old world feel. Melting with the richness of ripe, vintage wine, the theme is unspeakably beautiful when performed with a cello in "Felice Abbandonato." Other times, the same melody expresses sorrow, hope, fear, and resolution, using different instruments and tempo. There is a second theme that soars at a faster tempo and climbs to mischievious heights, as if someone's mind is racing with plots. There are a few other cues that take different turns in mood, including a highly percussive dance with an electric guitar jamming away.

Mas Alla Del Jardin (Beyond the Garden) is likewise a spellbinding, eloquent piece. Here, Piovani wrote a main theme using strings galore, with a resounding, weighty opening and deep tones of viola and cello sweeping your heart away . At its best, it isjust primo. There is also a second main theme which makes this score much more romantic than Tu Ridi, marked by soothing, graceful melody for the garden. In the first "El Jardin" track, this theme is carried by glowing piano, the kind you can have an intimate candlelight dinner by . In the second "El Jardin" track, the same theme is played delicately on guitar like a gentle serenade. Though short, this is a truly precious gem of a score.

If there is a shortcoming to these scores, it would be that they are so short and there isn't more subtle developments within the musical story. But if you like emotionally luxurious, romantic classical sounds such as the music of Debbie Wiseman and Luis Bacalov, with grand explicit themes, you would love this album. This is a welcome oasis of splendid movie music in anotherwise dry thematic year.


Helen San

We are grateful to Helen San ( for giving us permission to include this review which is currently appearing on her Film Music site.

See also earlier review by Paul Tonks


Helen San

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