The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for the ‘Ennio Morricone’ Category

That’s Amore: “Arrivederci Italy” Features Jerry Vale, Dean Martin, Rita Pavone, Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone

leave a comment »

Arrivederci ItalyIN MEMORIAM: JERRY VALE (1930-2014) : While readying the following article for publication, we learned of the passing of Jerry Vale on May 18, 2014 at the age of 83.  Jerry was one of the last great gentlemen of song, and a mainstay of the Columbia Records roster for many years.  He notched 18 singles on the Hot 10o between 1953 and 1967, and 27 on the Adult Contemporary chart through 1971, including the AC chart-topper “Have You Looked Into Your Heart” in 1964.  Though best-known for his Italian-themed songs like “Innamorata” and “Al di là,” Vale weathered the changing trends in popular music and embraced contemporary material on LPs including This Guy’s in Love with You, Where’s the Playground Susie, Let It Be and We’ve Only Just Begun.  He was also a frequent visitor to Yankee Stadium as performer of the national anthem.  Martin Scorsese featured Vale in his films Casino and Goodfellas, and his presence added verisimilitude to those acclaimed pictures.  Jerry Vale will be remembered for his smooth croon, his effortless charm and his elegance of an era gone by.  Ciao, Genaro.  Riposi in pace.

Coffee giant Starbucks is saying Arrivederci, Italy with a new compilation disc that aims to “capture the abundant flavor and expressive bravado of Italia and some of its greatest performers.”   The repertoire, however, goes beyond the music one might hear at the local Italian restaurant with soundtrack cuts and Italian-language pop classics alongside more familiar fare by American bel canto practitioners like Dean Martin and Jerry Vale.

Alongside music, one of Italy’s greatest contributions to international popular culture is film, and Arrivederci Italy includes themes from Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota.  Morricone, the versatile 85-year old composer of more than 500 film and television scores in every genre imaginable, is perhaps best known stateside for his “spaghetti western” scores for Sergio Leone.  “Carillon (Watch Chimes – The Musical Pocket Watch)” has been included from the second film in Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy, 1965’s For a Few Dollars More.  The late Nino Rota, a favorite composer of Franco Zeffirelli, Francis Ford Coppola and Federico Fellini, is represented with cues from two of the legendary Fellini’s films.  “Amarcord” is the title theme from Fellini’s 1973 picture of the same name, and “La Bella Malinconica” (“The Beautiful Melancholy”) is derived from Rota’s score to 1960’s groundbreaking La Dolce Vita.  Sophia Loren, Italy’s most celebrated actress and sex symbol,  found time in between her film work to embark on a recording career.  Her 1957 chart-topper “Che m’è ’mparato a fa’,” less familiar to American listeners than her amusing duets with Peter Sellers, has been included here.

On the pop front, the compilation includes a neat bit of cross-cultural exchange with Italian singer Carla Boni’s 1956 rendition of “Mambo Italiano,” an Italian pastiche composed by American Bob Merrill (lyricist of Broadway’s Carnival and Funny Girl).  Teenage starlet Rita Pavone, subject of a recent reissue from Real Gone Music, topped the Italian charts for nine weeks in 1963 with “Cuore,” an Italian adaptation of Brill Building stalwarts Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s “Heart.”  Francesco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno’s “Volare” remains one of the most famous Italian popular songs.  The Italian entry to the 1958 Eurovision song contest, “Volare” hit big around the world, with Modugno’s own recording becoming a U.S. No. 1 in mid-1958 and winning the first ever Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.  Subsequent versions arrived from Bobby Rydell, Dean Martin, Al Martino, Sergio Franchi and others, but Arrivederci selects a more recent, lesser-known version from English tenor and crossover star Russell Watson.

After the jump, we have plenty more on this new release, including the complete track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 20, 2014 at 11:37

You Must Remember This: TCM, Masterworks Compile “Classic Sound of Hollywood” From Mancini, Williams, Morricone, More

with one comment

Play It Again - Classic HollywoodOn April 1, Sony’s Masterworks division and Turner Classic Movies marked the cable network’s twentieth anniversary with a new 2-CD collection of vintage Hollywood movie themes. Play It Again: The Classic Sound of Hollywood continues the Masterworks/TCM series that has previously encompassed archival releases from Doris Day, Mario Lanza and Fred Astaire. Composers represented include Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Henry Mancini, Ennio Morricone and John Williams.  Most of the tracks on Play It Again aren’t derived from the original film soundtracks, but rather from renditions played by the likes of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Boston Pops.

The first disc is drawn entirely from RCA Red Seal’s series of Classic Film Scores as recorded by conductor Charles Gerhardt and London’s National Philharmonic Orchestra in the early 1970s. It includes three suites from composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold featuring his themes from Of Human Bondage, Between Two Worlds, and The Sea Hawk. Underscoring the diversity of this set, the disc also contains cues from the sensationally steamy Peyton Place (Franz Waxman), the creature feature The Thing (From Another World) (Dimitri Tiomkin) and even the Biblical epic Salomé (Daniele Amfitheatrof).  In 2010, Masterworks reissued this series as it originally appeared on LP, orphaning a handful of recordings.  The three of these “stray” recordings are the Peyton Place main title, the “Dance of the Seven Veils” from Salomé and the suite from The Thing.  In addition, the Korngold suites for The Sea Hawk and Of Human Bondage are different edits from those contained on the reissued Korngold CD in the Gerhardt series; this disc marks their first appearance on CD in over a decade.

What will you find on Disc 2?  Hit the jump for that, and more – including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Él is Flying High with Ennio Morricone and Joao Donato

with 2 comments

Ennio Morricone - PopsCherry Red’s Él Records label is going ‘round the world with a pair of recent releases.  Morricone Pops focuses on an oft-overlooked part of Italian composer Ennio Morricone’s ouevre:  that of his early sixties arrangements not just for film, but also for pop singers.  Él also turns its attention to a favorite country, Brazil, for Sambou, Sambou, a collection of two albums of tunes by composer-pianist Joao Donato.

With a staggering body of work including more than 500 films and television shows, 84 year old Ennio Morricone has deservedly earned a reputation as one of the greatest of all movie composers.  Yet before he teamed with Sergio Leone to define the sound of the spaghetti western with scores for films like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Morricone was finding steady employment as an arranger in the Italian music scene.  He arranged and even ghost-wrote hundreds of songs in the 1950s and 1960s, working for the Italian RCA label, among others.  One such song – an arrangement of Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty” as sung by American vocalist Peter Tevis – attracted the attention of director Leone, an old schoolmate of Morricone’s.  Leone hired Morricone to write the score for 1964’s A Fistful of Dollars, and well, the rest is cinema and music history.

Fistful wasn’t Morricone’s first motion picture; that honor went to 1961’s Il Federale.  But it was his breakthrough.  “Pastures” is just one of the 29 tracks on Morricone Pops.  Among the other notable songs here are Gianni Morandi’s 1962 “Go-Kart Twist,” Jimmy Fontana‘s “Twist No. 9” and “Nicole,” and Luigi Tenco’s “Quello Che Conta” and “Tra Tanta Gente.”  American jazz vocalist Helen Merrill’s RCA EP Sings Italian Songs (1960) is included, too,   with four choice Morricone arrangements.  Pops also includes highlights from early Morricone film arranging credits such as Il Rosetto (1960) and I Generale ½ (1961).  The CD stops short of including Morricone’s “Ogni Volta (Every Time),” the 1964 San Remo Music Festival entry sung by Paul Anka, but touches on the highlights of the early part of a legendary career.  As such, it’s sure to fascinate those only familiar with later, more mature works like Days of Heaven, Once Upon a Time in America, and The Mission – not to mention The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

After the jump, you’ll find details on Joao Donato’s Sambou, Sambou, plus order links and track listings for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 27, 2013 at 13:11

La-La Land Fills Stockings with Soundtrack Cheer

with one comment

One of the most beloved holiday traditions around Second Disc HQ is the annual unveiling of La-La Land Records’ Black Friday titles. Typically, the soundtrack reissue label saves some of their heaviest hitters for the end of the year, and this year is no exception. On December 4, fans will be able to order not only a mammoth box set of all the music from the original Star Trek series, but three beloved soundtracks from three legendary contemporary composers – all with a humorous “crime” theme to them.

Up first is John Williams’ score to the 1992 holiday flick Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Williams’ surprisingly deep score to the original John Hughes/Chris Columbus comedy in 1990 remains a holiday staple (and was brilliantly expanded by La-La Land for the film’s 20th anniversary in 2010). Much like the sequel itself, which essentially transplants Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) and his bumbling nemeses Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) from Chicago to The Big Apple, Williams HA2 score traverses on familiar ground, but new themes and arrangements (particularly the melancholy “Christmas Star” and the joyful “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas”) make this a keeper.

LLL has gone the extra mile with this title, both featuring a new remaster from Mike Matessino (who also wrote liner notes and co-produced the set with Nick Redman) and even a bit of extra music not featured on Varese Sarabande’s out-of-print 10th anniversary presentation in 2002. Extras include some holiday source music, an alternate of “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas” and the original presentations of “Christmas Star” and the Alan Menken/Jack Feldman-penned “My Christmas Tree,” both featured on the original soundtrack CD by Fox Records. Topped off by a package designed by Jim Titus that complements LLL’s Home Alone expansion, this set is limited to 3,000 units.

Next up, another sequel score set in the big city: Michael Kamen’s explosive soundtrack to Die Hard with a Vengeance, a limited edition at 4,000 units. In the third installment of this iconic action series (with a fifth due out next year), Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back on his home turf, attempting to stop a string of terrorist attacks committed by the nefarious Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons), the brother of his nemesis from the first Die Hard film. Featuring a greatly expanded presentation from the original RCA Victor soundtrack (while retaining The Lovin’ Spoonful’s classic “Summer in the City” as an album opener), the label has now helped provide an expansion for the scores to all of Kamen’s Die Hard scores. (La-La Land expanded Varese Sarabande’s pressing in their last Black Friday batch, and Varese themselves expanded Die Hard 2 just last month.)

Finally, the label remasters and expands Ennio Morricone’s Oscar-nominated score to The Untouchables. Brian DePalma’s crime drama told the real life story of Elliot Ness (based on his autobiography), whose team of Prohibition agents in 1920s Chicago took on the baddest gangster of them all, Al Capone (Robert DeNiro). Morricone was one of four nominees from the project, which netted Sean Connery an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as the incorruptible agent Jim Malone. This two-disc set, capped at 3,500 copies, features the premiere release of the score in its original film mix and sequence, and is complemented by a remastered version of the original, Grammy-winning A&M Records soundtrack album and seven bonus cues, including an unused arrangement of themes from the film by composer Randy Edelman.

Stay tuned to this post next Tuesday when links go live on all titles; in the meantime, check out our track breakdown on these three new releases!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 26, 2012 at 09:16

Film Score Monthly is “Frantic”

leave a comment »

It’s a new year, and with that new year comes the knowledge that Film Score Monthly is getting closer and closer to its final release sometime this spring. But before you get frantic about that, enjoy their latest title, released last week: the soundtrack to Frantic.

The 1988 Roman Polanski film featured Harrison Ford as an American doctor in Paris whose wife suddenly disappears from their hotel. His against-all-odds search for her – without the aid of the skeptical French government or U.S. embassy – takes him to the dark side of France, with only a streetwise girl as his reluctant guide through the seedy, terroristic underbelly of the country.

Ennio Morricone’s score was lauded by critics, adding greatly to the suspenseful mood of the film as well as its dark, romantic yearning. But the soundtrack album, while a respective offering of music, utilized alternate and concertized arrangements of the themes rather than what was actually heard in the movie. (There was also one non-LP track by British blue-eyed soul band Simply Red, “I’m Gonna Lose You,” included on the album.)

Now, FSM offers fans both the remastered soundtrack LP and 12 bonus cues that provide nearly the entire score as heard in the film. (One track is cited in the label’s order page as an alternate, but it is not stated which one.) The score, mastered from the remaining source – three and four-track 35 mm dubbing elements – gives a fresh spin on this underrated gem in Morricone’s catalogue. And, best of all, it’s an unlimited release, giving as many fans as possible the chance to get a copy.

You can order Frantic at the link above and hit the jump for a full track breakdown.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

January 2, 2012 at 11:17

Soundtrack Round-Up: Intrada Commits “Robbery,” La-La Land Bows Final Titles for 2011

leave a comment »

The end of the calendar year is a boom time for all those working in reissues, especially the soundtrack labels. Today, six major titles go on sale that are certainly worth a look here at Second Disc HQ.

Intrada’s two latest sets, announced last night, are pretty major. One is a brand new reissue of the score to The Great Train Robbery, Jerry Goldsmith’s classic soundtrack to the film directed by author Michael Crichton from his best-selling novel. Though the score is no stranger to CD, having been released and expanded by Varese Sarabande years ago, this special double-disc presentation expands the original score to completeness from newly-discovered two-track stereo masters. That includes 16 unreleased, alternate and source tracks. As an added bonus, the original soundtrack LP, released by United Artists at the time of the film’s release, is included as well. (It boasts alternate edits and mixes, as is often the case on original score albums.) And best of all, the set is both unlimited and selling for $19.99, the price of a typical single-disc set from Intrada.

The label’s other project is a very significant one: the premiere of the score to Wolfen, composed by a young James Horner. This horror flick, featuring Albert Finney as an NYPD detective pitted against a clan of shapeshifting murderers, was one of Horner’s first major screen credits, predating the one-two punch of 48 Hrs. and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan by a year. The CD features all of the music (including two alternate takes) written for the film. (It does not, however, feature all the music in the movie; some tracks from Horner’s then-most recent score, The Hand, were tracked in, to the point where they actually sounded like they could have been written for the film.) Knowing as score fans do that Horner is usually very reluctant to release early works, this is a pretty big coup for Intrada.

Speaking of coups, La-La Land didn’t disappoint with their Black Friday announcement of four major catalogue soundtracks, available to order now. The titles are a double-disc expansion of Michael Kamen’s adrenaline-fueled score to action classic Die Hard (1988), the premiere release of Danny Elfman’s score to the Bill Murray Christmas comedy Scrooged (1988), and expansions of two latter-day film adaptations of World War II events – Jerry Goldsmith’s score to the Pearl Harbor Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and Ennio Morricone’s music to 1989’s Fat Man and Little Boy, about the carrying out of the Manhattan Project, the nuclear missiles which ended the Second Great War.

You can order all these sets right now, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 29, 2011 at 13:08

Friday Feature: “The Thing”

with 2 comments

Our enjoyment of music takes many shapes and sizes, from the most basic of digital files to the vast quantities of reissues and box sets we all enjoy around The Second Disc. Part of the nervous excitement in being a collector is really never knowing what your latest musical obsession will look or sound like – and that’s, I think, what keeps us coming back.

Now, replace “music” with “an alien virus from another planet” and “nervous excitement” with “crippling terror” and you have the subject of our latest Friday Feature, John Carpenter’s sci-fi/horror classic interpretation of The Thing. Far too often overlooked is the rich history of the story that became one of the most chilling alien flicks of the past three decades – or the musical pedigree of both film adaptations. So bundle up, grab your flamethrower and get ready for terror – musical terror – to take shape.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 14, 2011 at 17:39