La Piovra 2

Ennio Morricone

" the definitive sound signature to the Italian mafia "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Ennio Morricone scored a great number of crime works, either for television or film, concerning the Italian mafia, from Le clan des Siciliens (1969) to L'ultimo dei Corleonesi (2007). La Piovra (The Octopus) became a domestic and internationally acclaimed phenomenon. The TV series ran for a total of 10 seasons over a period of 18 years. Whereas the first season introduced us to the police commissioner Corrado Cattani (Michele Placido), in a small-scale investigation, the second season took a huge step forward to Rome, followed by seasons further expanding on the widespread influence of the mafia. The first season (1984) featured a score by Riz Ortolani, which was based on a single brilliant main theme, ever-present in each episode, became overbearing in an otherwise fine first season. However, in La Piovra 2, Morricone took over and presented a breath of fresh air in terms of music The series upheld a continuous quality till the fourth season, while musically it was at its peak in the between the second and fourth season, and Morricone would score four more seasons, replaced by Paolo Buonvino for its eight and ninth season, to return for its final 10th season.

La Piovra´s music is essentially based on the encompassing authoritative, anti-fascist musical idea of opposing the mafia, known as his La Piovra style. It is far from original, deriving from a lot of different crime films he scored prior to the series, from Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto, Revolver and the Mini-Series Corleone, to later scores to The Untouchables and the Mini-Series Giovanni Falcone, just to name a few. However, La Piovra is really the creative culmination of several key ingredients that provide the definitive sound signature to the Italian mafia and it works so well.

The La Piovra style consists of harsh authoritative suspense, established by minimal music; (staccato) rhythmic, choppy strings, unsettling brass, nervous woodwinds and harpsichord. This is the kind of well-known suspense mode of Morricone, which really displays some of his most well-versed material written in such a mode. It keeps you on the edge of your seat in each of the episodes. ´Groviglio di sospetti is a fine example to illustrate the harsh and unpromising tone of the score.

Its stunning main title cue, Immorale, another minimal piece of music, is based on an ascending and descending arpeggio, performed by piano, organ and a poignant melody by the shimmering strings section; the most refined theme to capture the essence of what the mafia should sound like. Of course, the series 2 has a nostalgically and sweet theme too, as heard in the spectacularly, contrasting Milli Echi.

The third season continued to expand on La Piovra style and introduced an impressively haunting new theme, sung by Edda Dell'Orso, while the fourth season used a stunning new lullaby theme for Esther. The music in the following seasons, including the two scored by Paolo Buonvino, was less impressive, primarily because of some truly outdated synthesizers. Several pieces of Morricone's efforts were re-used and offered in different musical disguises, obviously including the title theme. Rai Trade also insisted on using music from Morricone's Sacco E Vanzetti, Gli Intoccabili, Veruschka and Il Vizietto 3 throughout the series, a returning practice on a variety of projects that included an original score by the maestro.

The 12 tracks of the second season are found on the impressive 2 CD by Rai Trade, including music from all seasons scored by Morricone.

1. Mille echi (03:22)
2. Ombre e tentacoli ** (06:12)
3. Agguato (05:06)
4. Tentativo d'amore (05:12)
5. Ricordo d'infanzia ** (02:13)
6. Ricatto ** (03:01)
7. Canzone per la sera (03:52)
8. Groviglio di sospetti ** (05:05)
9. Notturno per una citta' (04:50)
10. Morale (02:10)
11. La morale dell'immorale (04:30)
12. Droga e sangue ** (05:06)
(1-12 La Piovra 2)

(written 19-07-2020)
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Released by

RAI Trade (regular release 2006)