Il Grande Passo

Pino Donaggio

" The theme goes through a series of wonderfully orchestrated variations "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the download only release

Il Grande Passo is a 2019 film directed by Antonio Padovan. It's a film about a character who witnesses the famous events surrounding the famed first moon landing and dreams of going himself. His realization of that dream is interconnected with his family, who are dispute, unsure if he will make it happen, questioning his sanity. It is primarily a comedy, combined with slices of science fiction and family save ingredients, rather uninspired I might add. Pino Donaggio composed the music.

The director wanted the composer to combine an orchestral Hollywood sound with his Italian sensibilities, which is not a very good sign in relation to the kind of film it is and is evident in the end result. What is also very clear is how temp tracks had an effect on the overall score, some of it is blatantly obvious.

The score is performed by a 49-piece orchestra, and most of their (youthful) members and others related to the recording come from Venice, his home resident. I like this kind of personal, social touch, whereas he could have easily used the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, whom he used the most over the last two decades. The performances are really good, yet whenever Donaggio uses an orchestra of this size, the brass section is sometimes a little thin in delivering.

There’s an imaginative, touching main theme for the character’s dream of venturing into space. The theme goes through a series of wonderfully orchestrated variations, from subdued, emotive to boldly expressive. Quite impressive. Then there’s a piano, family-friendly, familiarly sounding secondary theme, but also some wonderful, typical Donaggio string writing, from introvert and touching cellos to strong rhythmic performances. The cue ´La Luna´ combines the introvert sensibilities, with both themes and rewarding orchestral boldness, while ´Tutta la mia vita´ adds unobtrusive spacey sound created by synthesizer, interacting with the main theme.

Il Grande Passo is a mixture of some excellent trademarks of the composers, obvious influences and because of the film itself, some comfortable, too conventional, sentimental ingredients. Considering the uninspired film, Donaggio’s music is technically superb, while lacking originality. Still, despite my criticism, there's much to enjoy listening to this well written orchestral score.

It was released digitally by Ala Bianca.

1. La Luna 4:08
2. L'Incidente 0:58
3. Padre e figlio 0:22
4. Verso il Nord 1:00
5. Quattrotronchi 0:48
6. Uova Sode 1:27
7. Svetlana 1:05
8. Un Problemuccio 1:13
9. L'incontro dei fratelli 1:35
10. Un Pollo non di Dario 0:45
11. Con la nebbia 1:43
12. 20 Luglio 1969 3:43
13. Papà 1:13
14. Qualcosa insieme 1:20
15. Luna storta 1:26
16. Verso Vercelli Pino Donaggio and Paolo Steffan 1:02
17. Cavalieri Pino Donaggio and Paolo Steffan 1:15
18. Frammenti 0:50
19. Volevo andare sulla Luna 0:58
20. Tutta la mia vita 4:06
21. Tre minuti (tema di Mario) 2:19
22. Il grande passo (tema di Dario) 2:23

Total duration 35:39

(written 22-07-2020)
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(total of 1 votes - average 4/5)

Released by

Ala Bianca (download only release 2020)