L'Italia vista dal cielo : Sardegna

Ennio Morricone

" What really sets the music apart, are the more mystical cues alluding to the surroundings, with the wind and forest by the sea. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the limited release

L'Italia vista dal cielo (Italy view from the sky) was a documentary series funded by the Esso Standard Italiana, the Italian department of the oil company. Folco Quilici directed all 14 episodes made in between 1966 and 1978, concentrating on a different part of Italy. The widespread success of the series enabled the series to be shown not only in Italy, but in other parts of Europe, even for all kinds of promotional and even educational purposes. Most of the episodes were scored handsomely by Piero Piccioni and I think one by Luis Bacalov, while Morricone took the helm for the Sardegna (Sardinia) episode.

Having seen just three episodes, I think I can safely say this is Sardegna episode is special, and further removed from the rather dry and average aerial display of a region of Italy, while it also has some historic film value. The visual portrayal of the island illustrates an almost mystical place, with some time to pay tribute to the actual inhabitants, and this is what inspired the score of Morricone.

The main theme features a relaxing melody for guitar and woodwinds, heard in all the Sardegna cues. From a distance it resembles some of his work on westerns, most evident in version 3, with a flute performance resembling the theme of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, but not without using a classy, poetic vocal of Edda Dell'Orso in the same version.

What really sets the music apart, are the more mystical cues alluding to the surroundings, with the wind and forest by the sea. Un organo nel vento is a perfect musical capture of the specific sound of the wind on the island, portrayed brilliantly by a choir, below a dominating baroque organ. It´s a sweeping cue, amongst his finest organ cues. Another pair of deeply resonating cues are reserved for the forest by the sea (Tra la foresta e il mare). The idea of lack of human life signs in these parts of Sardinia, gives the two compositions a vulnerable and desolate feel. In the first cue amongst the musical palette are the harp solos represent the almost surreal and desolate feel, while spooky low key performances of Edda, some twirling and screeching woodwinds (I doubt he uses traditional Sardinia instruments) are likely to represent birds and shakers provide rhythm. The second version, while featuring a similar musical palette, sets quite a different and more disturbing nightmarish tone, and adds an enormous amount of dissonant phrases and strings, which would not be out of his place in any horror work.

It's a tribute to nature with a deeply enriching voice and feel, just without the human component that otherwise, would have made such pieces far more expressive. Usually, Morricone would first act upon the human (emotional) core, while reacting to the overall scope of the visual images, but rarely inspired by nature itself.

Sardegna is a score of two sides, one is very straightforward relaxing thematic material, the other is the inspiring music that depicts the nature of Sardinia. The cd was released by Cometa Edizioni Musicali in 2011, limited to 500 units.

1. Un organo nel vento 4:21
2. Sardegna 1:55
3. Tra la foresta e il mare 8:05
4. Sardegna (vers. 2) 2:56
5. Segni misteriosi 2:19
6. Sardegna (vers. 3) 2:56
7. Tra la foresta e il mare (vers. 2) 10:37
8. Sardegna (vers. 4) 2:58
9. Segni misteriosi (vers. 2) 3:56
10. Sardegna (vers. 5) 2:58
11. Sardegna (vers. 6) 1:04

Total duration 44:04

(written 10-08-2019)

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Released by

Cometa Edizioni Musicali (limited release 2011)