No single CD (or even a CD set of less than five discs) could give more than a tiny cross-section of Carlo Rustichelli's film music, which has encompassed hundreds of scores across over 60 years. This compilation draws on his scores principally from the 1960s. Ritratto Di Un Autore is a handy collection, however, offering generally excellent sound in highlights from 22 scores, among them the ironic Un Amore A Roma, the ethereal The Thief of Baghdad, the alternately martial and melodic The Long Night of '43, the faux religious ritual music of Journey Beneath the Desert, the soaring choral passages from Giorno Per Giorno Desperatamente, the wry, mood-setting vocal signature music and the absurdly dramatic funeral march from Divorce -- Italian Style, and the horn, brass, and percussion-driven battle music from Taro Al Piccione. Most of these are shorter excerpts, which are pretty impressive in their own way, but the best parts of this disc are the longer tracks, most notably "Tarantella della Liberacione" from Le Quattro Giornate Di Napoli and "Windsor Concerto" from La Frusta E Il Corpo, both of which allow for real development in their respective six- and eight-and-a-half-minute lengths. The disc is structured so that some of the best music is saved for last -- the "Overture" from Signori E Signore sounds like an Italian parody of Anton Karas' Viennese zither music from The Third Man, played on electric guitar and organ; the rich, enveloping piano-and-orchestra excerpt from I Giovedi Della Signora Giulia; the brisk, Italian-flavored Can-Can music from Nini Tirabuscio' La Donna Che Invento' La Mossa; and the comedic march (sung by a male chorus) from Armiamoci Partite! is so surreal in its humor, wit, and good feeling that it's in a class completely by itself as music. The entire CD is fascinating, and illustrates some small measure of Rustichelli's prolificacy and inventiveness. The sound is excellent and despite the fact that this is an Italian release, there are English translations of the composer's note to fans, and some of the recording information.
Ritratto di un Autore Review
by Bruce Eder