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La Migliore Offerta by Ennio Morricone (Review)

posted Sep 3, 2013, 10:18 AM by Koray Savas   [ updated Sep 3, 2013, 10:18 AM ]

Ennio Morricone is a name that any fan of film or its music should know well. The man supersedes legend, he is an enigma of genius, innovation, and unrivaled work ethic. In his prime, Morricone scored well over 20 films a year over multiple decades. At 84 and with over 500 scores under his belt, Morricone is still scoring strong, averaging around 3 to 4 films a year... more than today's average film composer. I find it a rare treat to be able to experience one of the maestro's latest efforts despite these astounding numbers because he almost exclusively works in Europe, giving those from the States a run for their money in importing the score releases.

For La Migliore Offerta, Morricone reunites with long-time collaborator Giuseppe Tornatore. Unlike his previous work for Tornatore, Morricone's music is less extravagant in its lush and gorgeous melodies, and instead, focuses more on underlying suspense and drama. It is not as lyrical as something like Malèna or Baarìa, but more in line with the tone and mood of Una Pura Formalità. The title track showcases the main theme, slow and delicate in nature, it echoes beauty and love in a way that only Morricone can muster. "Volti E Fantasmi" is a powerhouse of a cue, a patient fugue-like piece that slowly but surely builds while seemingly going nowhere. Haunting vocals fade in and out, sending chills down your spine. It is one of the highlights of the album, and its dual-sided nature of entrancing apprehension make it one of the more interesting Morricone cues in a long time. Moreover, Morricone is still the master of sounds and instrumentation, always finding unique and new ways to create very particular moods and emotions (hear "Alla Villa"). The music never goes overboard and strikes a perfect balance between unease and bliss.

Ennio Morricone is special in that he is able to truly marry the image with music, more so than any other film composer, alive or dead. Each score is a tapestry of melody, harmony, and avant-garde surrealism, and La Migliore Offerta is no different. It stuns, mystifies, lures, and hypnotizes. This is a rare gem of a score when compared to a larger-scale of contemporary scores and composers, and while an excellent achievement, it still pales to past Morricone efforts. It is a testament to his genius that Morricone can churn out something like this so far into his everlasting career.