Il Fiore delle Mille e Una Notte

Ennio Morricone

 
" Il Fiore delle Mille e Una Notte is the notorious solo organ score "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Il Fiore delle Mille e Una Notte is Piero Passolin´s 1974 version of the famed Al Falaylatan Walayla (Arabian Nights), presenting the original (story within a story) structure and preserving much of the eroticism that, under the European influence in the 18th century, was omitted in translations. The film was the closing film of Passolini´s trilogy of life, preceded by I racconti di Canterbury and Il Decameron. Unlike these two it features a full original score, as for I racconti di Canterbury, Morricone reworked old music and included an original cue just 32 seconds long, Il Decameron includes adaption of existing music only.

Il Fiore delle Mille e Una Notte is the notorious solo organ score, including around 50 minutes of such music compositions, with two additional themes accounting for roughly 17 minutes.The most exceptional compositions for solo organ, such as l Liberta (Quimada), Rituale (El Greco) and La Luce (L´Antichristo), all show great character. In a supporting role Towards The Unknown (Mission to Mars' and several pieces from Fateless and spring out positively. Yet, Per organo e ottoni (Amanti D'Oltretomba) is I think the best outspoken, and scariest, piece for long solo organ, ending with brass eruptions.

All solo organ themes Morricone wrote for Il fiore delle mille e una notte are extremely monotonous, and the miniscule changes on each cue - emphasis on the lower registers, softer, more expressive - do not change anything about that.

The composer chose to use the organ for aesthetic values and in the film they are remarkably strong. But as a listening experience on cd I couldn´t care less about these aesthenicness of the pieces and doubt many will make it to the end. It just is too much to bare. The two other musical themes are sensational relieves on album; the contrast could not have been any larger!

The secondary theme is Tema di Aziza. This is a hugely intimate, subdued theme for harp and strings, slow and simplistic in approach, but it embodies so much melancholy. Unfortunately, the first and second variation also feature woodwnds that occassionay brutally interrupt the flow, like comical interruptions or exaggerations in cartoons that communicate the failure of a character´s actions. But they do sound somewhat mature in sound, and are not entirely out of place within the context of the film, wich is not devoid of slapstick humor. It must be said, this third film is much less ironic, or comic in tone, but Passolini did not avoid it entirely. So perhaps, as indepent musical works, the theme is not entirely satisfying. But its third varation, that closes the album, omits the idea of woodwinds interrupting with the flow, being the best thematic variation of the entire score.

The third theme of the film is Tema di Dunja. The first and second variation open with a harp that emulates a Middle Eastern sound. As the theme progresses multilayered bassoon perfomances continue, aided by light strings on the background, to return the harp once or twice. The 11 second long third take only uses the harp, and I must say such short statements become useful tools in the film to accentuate something really fast.

What I both like an dislike at the same time is how relatively lttle Morricone deviated from his western orchestral approach througout his career. Yes, he has made interesting choices in creating unusual sounds, but usually was in favor of a western (orchestral) instruments that emulated instruments most fitting to the cultural world of the project. The manner of playing could serve useful in emulating the cultural flavour, which is evident in scores such as Marco Polo. I like the harp in the theme of Dunja, but in retrospective seen from the point of view of a modern film music enthusiast, it's a shame he did not use a quanun.

Il Fiore delle Mille e Una Notte is a score that works wonders in the film. The disastrous, monotone organ pieces make for the weakest Morricone listening experiences I have ever heard, and by now I have had the fortune to know 90 percent of all commercial score releases quite well. Even the other two other themes cannot do anything to save it, but without them, I would easily give the lowest possible rating. I think a Ep assembling, with two variations of both the Dunja and Aziz theme, supplemented by two shorter organ cues, would provide for the best possible listening experience. It is simply impossible to evaluate this score based on the film experience (8/10) and the cd experience (3/10) by applying a simple mathematical compromise since I feel the cd release is so unpleasant.



Tracklist
01 Tema di Aziza 3:20
02 Tema di Dunja 2:39
03 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema del demone primo) 5:28
04 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema del demone secondo) 7:12
05 Tema di Dunja (secondo) 3:22 harp theme
06 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema della battaglia) 0:58
07 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (misterioso) 2:28
08 Tema di Aziza (secondo) 1:32
09 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema della montagna di pietra nera) 1:55
10 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema del demone terzo) 2:16
11 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (mistico) 2:29
12 Tema di Dunja (terzo) 1:38
13 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema della montagna di pietra nera secondo) 2:02
14 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema del demone quarto) 2:10
15 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (rituale) 2:25
16 Tema di Dunja (quarto) 0:11
17 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (rituale secondo) 2:25
18 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema del demone quinto) 2:16
19 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema della montagna di pietra nera terzo) 2:03
20 Tema di Dunja (quinto) 2:18
21 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema del demone sesto) 2:14
22 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (rituale terzo) 2:20
23 Il fiore delle mille e una notte (tema del demone settimo) 6:00
24 Tema di Aziza (terzo) 2:34
Total Time: 65:04
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(total of 1 votes - average 1.5/5)

Released by

GDM (regular release 2003)