Nominated for five Academy Awards and earning an honorary Lifetime Achievement Academy Award in 2006, Italian composer Ennio Morricone- who has almost 500 titles to his name – is still plowing through epic film scores despite being in his early 80s. Throughout the years Morricone has worked with Roman Polanski, Brian De Palma, Pedro Almodovar, Wolfgang Petersen, and Mike Nichols, to name a few. And only last year he completed the epic score to Giuseppe Tornatore’s Golden Globe Nominated film Baarìa. And though Morricone has worked with Tornatore many times before, he had no misconceptions about how elaborate and complicated the score for this film would be: “From my initial approach to Baarìa, I realized it was going to be a very complex and delicate undertaking.” Luckily for Tornatore, “complex and delicate” are not words that intimidate Ennio Morricone. The composition that Morricone has created for Tornatore’s very personal story is a beautifully moving collection of music.

Beginning the 19 track compilation is the 11-minute “Sinfonia per Baarìa,” a track so rich and seamless that if not for the interjected dialogue (and a few rooster crows), it could be passed off as a classic symphony in its own right. This opening track sets up many of the themes and the general mood of the rest of the album. The third track “Baaria” ties in nicely with this track, capturing a gentle, flowing and heartfelt type of emotion – with rising and falling strings that easily pull the listener along. And though the majority of the album follows this slightly nostalgic motif, there is much more to this album than simple reminisces. The opening beats of “Prima E Dopo” explodes in a mixture of percussives and brass before settling into a dirgelike march with a guiding trail of music flowing through its core.

Morricone may be in his 80s, but he clearly hasn’t lost his ability to get to the heart of a story through music. Tornatore says in the liner notes, “I know that Ennio will give me every fiber of his musical sensibility and I know that his soundtrack will be extraordinary.” That’s a lot of faith to put into a composer, but after working with Morricone for over 20 years and seeing his consistent output, Tornatore has a reason to expect excellence from Morricone – he delivers. And for those of us who haven’t worked with Morricone but have followed his music over the years, it’s clear that he’s done it again with this delicately impassioned collection of tracks.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Witnessing a master at work
Stay Away if: You prefer more fast-paced, action scores

To purchase the soundtrack to Baarìa, visit Amazon

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