Ennio Morricone

L' Avventuriero [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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Ennio Morricone's 1967 soundtrack for the film L'Avventuriero (The Rover) is a fascinating mixture of styles, as eclectic as much film music of the time, but brilliant and coherent in its transitions from faux Baroque to high Romanticism and pungent, experimental Modernism. One can easily appreciate that this is music for an action film, but feel more immediately the yearning and dark emotions that are central to this story of an aging buccaneer. The film is set shortly after the French Revolution, and opens with period-style music for harpsichord and strings; the main theme quickly follows, an aching, arching melody for violins over somber harmonies. This is followed by ominous music for voices and low percussion and a skittering violin solo that builds in tension as additional solo strings are added in dissonant counterpoint. Throughout the remaining scenes, Morricone shifts between delicate chamber passages and the tense, concerto-like violin music, and balances these elements; the score holds together rather well, with the possible exceptions of Il Varo, which stands out as an anachronistic, pseudo-Renaissance dance, and the closing track, Momenti Sereni, which ends unexpectedly and unsatisfactorily. Performed by an uncredited orchestra but conducted by Bruno Nicolai, the music sounds terrific, undoubtedly due to superior care of the original analog tapes and expert remastering.

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