-LOVE AND FREEDOM, MASANIELLO-
Music for a romantic revolutionary.
In 2006, film director Angelo Antonucci managed to get off the ground the project of adapting to the big screen his take on the life of the revolutionary Masaniello, who revolted against the Spanish viceroyalty in Napoli at the end of the XVII century, and who got the Neapolitan Republic’s declaration five months after his death. Antonucci contacted Marco Werba because he had seen Il conte di Melissa (Melissa’s Count), which was also set on the XVII century. He had liked the work the composer had done in this film, but for his take on Masaniello, which he titled Amore et libertá (Love and Freedom), he wanted a melodic love theme which could really stand out, as his approach on this historical character’s deeds was tinged with a powerful romanticism. After consulting with Werba, the 1963 Madrid born Italian composer offered him the possibility to get in touch with Francis Lai, Best Score Academy Award winner for Love Story, whom he had met in 1989 during the Colonna Sonora Award ceremony. Werba had won the award that year thanks to his debut score in Cristina Comencini’s film Zoo, released a year before. Both Lai and Ennio Morricone received honorary prizes for their successful professional careers that same year, and when they ran into the then new composer, they established a tight, lasting friendship which still endures today. So much so, that Werba and Antonucci visited Lai in Paris, and entrusted him with that love theme, which he duly sent two months later. Werba orchestrated it, and integrated it in the score he had composed, recording it with the Bulgarian Symphonic Orchestra, which he was directing for the first time, and for which he could count with the involvement of the excellent sound engineer Marco Streccioni.
Werba would be known later mostly because of his work in genre films, thriller and horror movies, where he left some landmark scores as Giallo (Yellow) (2009), for Dario Argento, Nero infinito (Infinite black) (2013), for Giorgio Bruno, or the magnificent Seguimi (Follow me) (2017), directed by Claudio Sestieri, just to mention a few examples. But he has never stopped working in historical and adventure films, so that after his collaboration with Antonucci his name would appear also in Anita-Una vita per Garibaldi (2007), whose action was set in Brazil during the first half of the XIX century; I fiore del male (2015), a feminist vindication based on Baudelaire’s work to tell three stories led by hardened women in three different historical moments; and also in the recent Niccolò Machiavelli, il príncipe della política, a biography of this relevant political figure of the Italian Renaissance. The well-known Italian recording label CAM published some promotional copies of the soundtrack, reason why Rosetta has decided to put this precious work within music fans’ reach, with a revised sequencing. Werba’s music quality, alongside Lai’s theme, creates a very fortunate, world class duo.
In fact, the score is constructed around several main themes, among which stands out the one dedicated to Masaniello, the protagonist, for whom Werba creates a moving, epic theme that can be heard in the Titoli di Testa, the main credits. The main instruments are the horns, alongside guitars and flutes, besides the Orchestra’s Choir. The theme can be heard as well in a great piano solo, performed by the composer himself in the track Amore e Libertá (Masaniello). Following in importance is Lai’s theme, which first appears in the Scena d’Amore (Love scene), with flutes and guitars as
the main instruments. It’s a beautiful, lyrical theme, which the Italian composer uplifts masterfully. Finally, it’s worth to mention the theme around the protagonist’s madness (Tema de la Follia), of great dramatic intensity, not without some melancholic chromatics very noticeable in its guitar and orchestra version. We can mention as well Werba’s variations conducting the orchestra in the sequences regarding the revolution, represented by La Rivolta, La Rivolta 2 and by the orchestral and coral tutti closing down the recording, and also by the epic climax titled Insurrezione, originally supported by a synthesizer to establish a rhythmic pattern that transforms the piece in a victorious march. Without a doubt, the score is amongst Marco Werba’s finest and most elaborate works, a composer with a long, extremely varied professional career, whom the music fan can also enjoy in another of the works recently published by Rosetta, Made in China, Napoletano. A comedy now joined by this emblematic historical soundtrack, one of his highest and most celebrated creative summits, where Werba proves a mastery over melody and lyricism belonging to a real author, undeniably from the Italian School, running along the epic and dramatic atmosphere required, and whose listening will leave and unforgettable taste in the music fan’s palate.