Il Carniere

Pino Donaggio

" Il Carniere features an exquisitely sober and evocative main theme "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Il Carniere is 1997 film directed by Maurizio Zaccaro. The film is told from the point of view of a group of Italians who travel to formerly Yugoslavian and end up amidst the horrors of the Balkan war. Pino Donagio scored very few war-related projects, Rescuers: Stories of Courage, Il Carniere and Oorlogswinter, each with a rather different focus, while they all display the composer's excellence in writing.

Il Carniere features an exquisitely sober and evocative main theme, presented in cues as 'Il carniere' and 'Alba slovena'. It's a slow, reflective and saddening theme for light strings, a haunting melody joined by ethnic snare plucking, woodwinds and orchestral dark shades.

The ´ethnic´ snare plucking doesn't really reflect the Balkan, similar to a woodwind introduced later into the score, but their evocative quality is what makes you accept them for what they are. The rather uncultured point of view of Yugoslavia presented in the clichéd film is therefore somewhat matched by Donaggio musical efforts, which depend on a universal but also Westernized emotion. However, 'La Radura del Palchi' features an unknown female, wordless vocal, matching the timbre and emotion of traditional songs from Serbia to Macedonia. This very same cue is a very touching experience, as the female vocal is aided by an imminent bed of strings and wonderfully, hesitant and even crying phrases of an ethnically sounding woodwind, whose fragmented phrases become a valuable asset in relation to some tension-filled suspense.

Another valuable Donaggio trademark is his ability to write truly magnificent tension-filled, suspense material, with the ever returning string crescendo, a useful tool to build up the tension, alongside other repetitive, textural ideas. It is the most admirable of all Donaggio´ signatures, and while some of these ideas are recycled a lot, seem rather simple upon first glance and in this case too short, it is truly unparalleled could easily compile a few hours long compilation of inspirational suspense and tension building and this material would not be omitted. ''Il Primo Sparo' and the equally divided emotive and suspenseful 'Fuga Dalla Guerra' represent this quality. Even though both cues are rather short, like the score, the immediate strength is notable. I have come to appreciate the value of short works, in a wide array of mediums much more, but it remains complicated. For this score, he also adds a few fragmented phrases from the ethnic solo woodwind and a brass triplet, which doesn't entirely sound convincing enough, which is usually the case with the brass section in scores recorded with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, but nonetheless it rarely affects the overall quality.

Il Carniere is a short score, but it includes a very memorable main theme filled with solemn pathos, rewarding (semi) cultural influences and some of his best tension-filled material. A much to be treasured body of work and one of his best.

The score, only 16 minutes long, first appeared on the CD release by Alhambra, Pino Donaggio - Die Komponisen-Portrait-Serie Für Film, Fernsehen und Operette No.3 in 1999, including selections of other scores, followed by compilations by other labels. All are unremarkable compilations and Il Carniere was the only reason to purchase any of these, like I did. Emergency Music Italy is the first to present the score independently, though it is a digital release. Perhaps it is insignificant, but the label does not invest much time in producing appropriate artwork for their digital releases, hence the hideous artwork.

1. Il carniere 2:35
2. La radura dei palchi 2:14
3. Il primo sparo 2:22
4. Fucili pronti 2:23
5. Alba slovena 2:22
6. Fuga dalla guerra 2:45
7. Rada 3:34

Total duration:18:15

(written 26-07-2020)
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(total of 1 votes - average 5/5)

Released by

Emergency Music Italy (regular release 2020)