Postcards from Italy - Italian Music for Film. Marco Albonetti, saxophone; Roma Sinfonietta / Paolo Silvestri. ℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd


Imaginative and Colourful

GERALD FENECH finds the latest in Chandos Records' series of film music mouth-watering

'Performances are consistently alive, vibrant and rhythmically exciting, and Marco Albonetti's virtuosity makes the music sound even more passionate and intense.'


From cinema's earliest days, most films have had a musical accompaniment of some kind. Even silent films were not viewed in total silence. The rhythm of the music sustained the momentum of action on screen. Since the first screenings by the Lumière brothers and others, the visual quality of films steadily improved and innovations in sound kept pace. Once sound could be added to the footage, music composed for the screen never lost its importance. With the pioneering 1927 The Jazz Singer, music composed for films became part and parcel of cinematic art, and the music started to take a more symphonic and spectacular shape, culminating in the blockbusters of the 1950s and 60s. Thankfully, the trend continues to this day with the likes of John Williams and Hans Zimmer.

Chandos realized there was a goldmine of film scores which were either forgotten or waiting to be discovered, and they set in motion a cycle dedicated to this genre. Today one is spoiled for choice what to purchase for enjoyment. The disc in hand is the third dedicated to music from Italian films, and the protagonist is once again the saxophonist Marco Albonetti, who writes:

Film music has been described as the defining new genre of classical music in the twentieth century. It engages both the ear and heart of an audience. The masterpieces composed by two Italian film composers in particular, Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone, embody the cultural identity of most Italians, and they have become recognized and loved by audiences around the world.

The film themes on this album capture the magical combination of romance, melancholy, friendship and violence. The notes vibrate with such passion that the compositions continue to engage the listener, bringing the work of these great Italian composers to life wherever and whenever it is performed. Film music is meant to be an accompaniment to the action on screen.

The music on this album is so powerful and enduring that these melodies can stand on their own merit, transporting us to another time and place, evoking memories of past experiences or introducing us to new worlds and places which we can only see in our imagination.

Listen — Morricone: Gabriel's Oboe (The Mission)
(CHAN 20291 track 1, 0:30-1:22) ℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd :

This album, Postcards from Italy - Italian Music for Film, is a tribute to the Italian spirit, expressed through a musical journey. The programme could not be more mouth-watering. Obviously, the greater part is devoted to Ennio Morricone (1928-2020) with music from five films that include The Mission and Once Upon a Time in America, and Nino Rota (1911-1979) with music from three films, The Godfather (1972), Amarcord (1973) and the very famous La Dolce Vita (1960).

Listen — Nino Rota: Themes from La Dolce Vita
(CHAN 20291 track 14, 3:44-4:22) ℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd :

Gato Barbieri (1932-2016) makes his musical bow with the notorious Last Tango in Paris (1972), while Paolo Silvestri (born 1960) is represented by the music from Contravenuto (2000).

Listen — Paolo Silvestri: Theme from Contravenuto
(CHAN 20291 track 15, 2:13-3:01) ℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd :

Indeed, Silvestri is also the orchestrator and arranger of these imaginative and colourful 'Italian Postcards'. Performances are consistently alive, vibrant and rhythmically exciting, and Marco Albonetti's virtuosity makes the music sound even more passionate and intense.

This is an exhilarating addition to this film music cycle that should not be missed, especially by cinema buffs. Sound and presentation are state of the art.

Copyright © 22 September 2023 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



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