Thursday, 27 October 2016

Giallo fever: part 5

Title: Un bianco vestito per Marialè (A white dress for Marialé)
Year: 1972
Composer: Fiorenzo Carpi

This 70s giallo score was written by pianist Fiorenzo Carpi who also had a few film projects. Many of his scores had however different arrangers to help in the finalization of the score possibly because he wasn’t that familiar with orchestrating. This score credits Bruno Nicolai as the arranger and conductor and to be honest it carries a lot of his trademarks and instrumental choices so much so you could almost imagine to be listening to a Nicolai score. The album was even released as a part of Digitmovies label’s Bruno Nicolai series.

One thing the score does right straight from the start is establishing a strong main theme. Marialè is probably one of my all-time favourite giallo themes. It moves smoothly from the classical, sophisticated beginning to the extremely moving B section which is often accompanied by faster Nicolai influenced keyboard progressions. However the first time we hear the theme is actually during an eerie, thriller version with the voice of Edda dell’Orso on top of a steady heartbeat and droning electric guitar. During the second track it is however developed to its full glory. Most of the reprises of the theme follow this arrangement’s romantic nature which is always pleasant to hear amid the more difficult music. There is an exception though, namely track 11 where it is performed by the solo voice and electric guitar in unison creating an uneasy atmosphere. But by far the greatest version is track number 24 where dell’Orsos’s voice finally joins the romantic arrangement in a glorious end title track.

The suspense soon begins with L’appuntamento which is filled with twinkling harp effects and a dark bassline. Most of its reprises follow the similar slow-moving style which builds the intensity when each track progresses. The other instrument featured heavily is the organ which has often a rather distant sound even when it is performed during the warmer moments. Track 19 has a very similar sound to some of Morricone’s suspenseful giallo writing which isn’t a bad thing by any means. Corteo magico has a very abstract feel with sparse free-floating notes. La vittima is the only real ‘action’ track which has the elements introduced in L’appuntamento but with faster pace, distorted guitar effects and even a melody that could be a variation of Dies irae. It introduces a bouncy bassline ‘theme’ possibly for the killer which is later reprised in track 22, probably the creepiest one of all. It continues though to Ultimi passi which perfects the opening track’s heartbeat effect with creepy organ playing and strange twanging guitar notes.

Garden party is the other recurring theme with a breezy waltz feel. The harmonies are very jazzy and surprising. The main melody is often performed by very innocent sounding instruments including the harpsichord, harp and celesta. The melody gets to shine more though during the slower versions such as tracks number 8 and 16. The other source music inspired track is Pelle di luna which is clearly a trippy midnight erotic party track with the emphasis on the organ and electric guitar interrupted by some sick percussion fills that include also some unease before returning back to the main melodic core.

The final 7 tracks present the original LP tracks, most of which weren’t included in the film and hence are left in as a bookend to the album. The album version of Pelle di luna goes even crazier with the trippy sound effects and is just so much fun to listen to. The ending has a few unique melodies heard nowhere on the album (perhaps some demo material for the director to consider or just material written for the LP to make the listening experience better). Beni perduti is clearly more of Carpi’s regular ‘popular’ music moods, with a waltz featuring an accordion and rural chord structures. Leggenda has a sound that somehow reminds me of spaghetti western melodies and it’s stretched away from the other material’s style a bit too much. The reprise of Corte magico develops from its film version into a moving little piece dominated by the organ. Equinozio is another waltz which shares some similarities with Garden party but the chords are slightly more impressionistic. The ending cue Pensiero romantico is a lovely theme for piano and strings, not as great as the main theme but the B section once again provides glorious moments that take a bit darker turn to some unusual harmonies.

No matter who exactly wrote what, the score is highly enjoyable from the beginning till the end despite being an extremely long album. The only criticism I have is the abundance of Garden party tracks that don’t differ that much from each other. However it’s another rare gem of a giallo score balancing great melodies with chilling suspense.

Rating: ****1/2

1. Marialè (01:58) *****
2. Marialè (02:11) *****
3. L'appuntamento (01:05) ****
4. Marialè (01:37) *****
5. Garden Party (02:07) ****
6. Marialè (00:48) *****
7. L'appuntamento (01:57) ****
8. Garden Party (00:43) *****
9. L'appuntamento (01:24) *****
10. Corteo magico (00:47) ****
11. Marialè (01:30) ****
12. Garden Party (02:07) ****
13. Marialè (01:33) *****
14. Garden Party (01:26) ****
15. Pelle di luna (04:54) *****
16. Garden Party (01:12) ****
17. La vittima (02:24) *****
18. Garden Party (00:42) ****
19. L'appuntamento (02:44) *****
20. Garden Party (02:16) *****
21. La vittima (01:04) *****
22. L'appuntamento (03:50) *****
23. Ultimi passi (02:35) ****
24. Marialè (02:02) *****
25. Pelle di luna (06:24) *****
26. Ultimi passi (02:21) ****
27. Beni perduti (03:04) ****
28. Leggenda (04:15) ****
29. Corteo magico (03:17) ****
30. Equinozio (02:55) *****
31. Pensiero romantico (02:43) *****

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