Title: L’ingenua (The naive)
Composer: Carlo Savina
Sexy comedies with some softcore nudity were their own genre in Italy in the 70s, including L’ingenua from 1975. There is a plot about conmen trying to sell a villa but the real reason for the film were the views, both the beautiful scenery but mostly the nudity of one Ilona Staller, aka Cicciolina, a famous Italian sex-object. Strangely a film like this also got an original score which was made by none-other than Carlo Savina, already a prolific film composer at the time. And the result is actually a pleasant surprise, not just some background porn music.
Because the score is so short, around just 25 minutes, Savina made a clever choice to build it around one unifying theme heard in Seq. 1. It opens however with a sighing female voice, which is a corny touch and sadly disappears for the rest of the score. The theme is then heard in waltz meter on the Mediterranean accordion and whistling which gives it the comedic edge before modulating into a wondrous little crescendo. Lovely stuff indeed. It is followed by straight-up comedy honky-tonk which after a pause turns into a fine version of the main theme never straying far from the comedy. A more laid-back poolside source version is heard in Seq. 3 but Seq. 4 returns to the comedy with music suitable for a funny chase sequence and later more anonymous background music. Seq. 6 and 11 include folk-music like accordion waltz which isn’t terribly original but does it job. Bluesy radio source with walking bass is featured in Seq. 7 preceding a cheeky main theme statement of Seq. 8 which has slight hints of doubt with the underlying orchestrations.
A beautiful saxophone solo opens Seq. 10 before the comedy motif of Seq. 2 returns somewhat ruining the otherwise fine atmosphere. The most ‘suspenseful’ moment of the score is heard in Seq. 12’s beginning but then it dissolves into a mixture of both the main theme and an actually interesting variation of the comedy motif with odd tinkling sound-effects and organ bleeps. The last cue returns to the lovely wonder of the opening with sweet orchestrations and floating accordion solo.
The score for the film is a very light one and doesn’t feature any real drama. If you’re looking for an easy-listening to play in the background, this certainly does the job but never reaches the heights Savina is capable off. But on the whole we have to be glad that this project even exists and we are able to hear it after over 4 decades.
Title: L’osceno desiderio (Obscene desire)
Composer: Carlo Savina
As an odd choice, the second feature on this album is actually from a giallo/horror film about an American tourist who gets impregnated while on a holiday. Inspired clearly by The omen and Rosemary’s baby, the child is actually the antichrist. Savina’s score is actually similar to one featured in those films, since it includes both beautiful passages that lull you into a fall sense of security and then releases frightening scenarios in the tension-filled cues.
The film’s sad main theme opens Seq. 1 with a plain piano solo which later expands to woodwinds and solo viola. Savina’s scores generally are more built around motifs than long-lined themes. However this time the melody is really developed and tear-jerkingly beautiful, and perhaps one of the composer’s very finest. The orchestration for this score is quite sparse which makes all the instruments pop out thus making the listener feel each performer’s unique way of playing. The first few reprises are full of hope and filled with the bliss of a tragic romance. Both Seq. 3 and 4 include passages in major key and variate the melody into clever chord progressions that change the overall mood momentarily into a light autumn breeze. The last shades of almost childlike innocence are heard in Seq. 6 which once again continues to the tragic pattern that is incredibly beautiful with its sadness. From thereon the theme continues to get shades of darkness with every reprise. Seq. 8 combines it with clashing pianos, keyboards and even snippets of the devil’s viola, and the style gets even more broken and crooked in the following cue. After many horrific cues there is a surprising sequence, Seq. 17, which is a romantic new theme that has dramatic piano flourishes and even major key sections. That new melody is also heard in the finale cue which isn’t the romantic conclusion I was hoping for because there are still shades of darkness left, perhaps signaling that the evil wasn’t defeated.
The horror begins already in Seq. 2 with devilish viola solo, another classic way to resemble the devil through Western classical music. The base is reprised without the viola in Seq 7. The mood of these cues is later developed into an actual horror motif which is the score’s secondary theme. Seq. 10 has interesting keyboard effects that are actually quite fun in a twisted way. The first version of that secondary theme is also heard during its final moments. Seq. 11 has music that sounds like someone creeping around empty rooms at night. Seq. 12 begins with terrifying variations of the main theme which make way to another sparse creeping around cue that is actually quite frightening to listen to by yourself. Seq. 13 is the first cue built entirely around the secondary theme. It isn’t as effective as the previous horror music but functional for sure and it even includes some humming choral voices that create a ghostly atmosphere. There are also otherworldly electronic enhancements in the following cue which are actually quite unsettling. The closest the music comes to releasing the tension is at the end of Seq. 18 where the music speeds up and swells into its climax.
L’osceno desiderio has beautiful, exquisitely orchestrated music during its first half which then turns into sour, slow-burning tension during the second half that barely lets the listener have a moment to breathe. Unfortunately the beginning is so strong that the suspense music, which is built around repeating loops and short phrases, just falls flat at certain points. At times though it manages to get under my skin and makes me check over the shoulder for intruders. Nevertheless it’s clearly the better score of the album and just barely misses a perfect rating.
1. L'ingenua (Seq. 1) (02:10) *****
2. L'ingenua (Seq. 2) (02:24) ****
3. L'ingenua (Seq. 3) (01:37) ****
4. L'ingenua (Seq. 4) (02:06) ***
5. L'ingenua (Seq. 5) (01:22) ***
6. L'ingenua (Seq. 6) (01:39) ***
7. L'ingenua (Seq. 7) (01:17) ***
8. L'ingenua (Seq. 8) (01:48) ****
9. L'ingenua (Seq. 9) (01:58) ***
10. L'ingenua (Seq. 10) (02:04) ***
11. L'ingenua (Seq. 11) (01:48) ***
12. L'ingenua (Seq. 12) (02:32) ****
13. L'ingenua (Seq. 13) (01:11) *****
14. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 1) (01:52) *****
15. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 2) (01:26) *****
16. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 3) (02:24) *****
17. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 4) (02:56) *****
18. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 5) (01:19) *****
19. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 6) (02:06) *****
20. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 7) (01:26) ***
21. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 8) (02:31) *****
22. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 9) (01:49) *****
23. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 10) (02:28) ****
24. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 11) (01:37) ****
25. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 12) (03:00) *****
26. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 13) (02:00) *****
27. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 14) (03:24) ***
28. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 15) (02:26) ****
29. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 16) (02:01) ***
30. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 17) (03:42) *****
31. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 18) (01:53) ****
32. L'osceno desiderio (Seq. 19) (02:30) *****