La Piovra 4

Ennio Morricone

" It’s a testament of strong traditional scoring, "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

With La Piovra 2 (read my review, Morricone took over from Riz Ortolani and presented a breath of fresh air. It was the creative culmination of several key ingredients that provided the definitive sound signature for the Italian mafia. Morricone used this template, including its themes and the Piovra style for upcoming seasons, including tracked in music, both from previous seasons and completely different scores by Morricone. La Piovra 3 added a new theme, the lullaby like Strana Bambina, (sung by Edda Dell'Orso) and La Piovra 4 introduced a new, intriguing lullaby for Esther.

In La Piovra 4 the use of Morricone’s music is still like a carousel of all the different ideas, motifs and themes endlessly revisited. The staccato rhythmic cues and the lullaby for Esther are particular types of music that gain strength from repetition, while traditional themes risk becoming too overbearing. Miraculously, it never becomes uninteresting, but I suppose some will feel deprived of any emotional connection because of the immense amount of repetition over the course of the 608 minutes long season.

Episode 4 features a lovely conflicted scene in which Esther makes ‘love’ to the mafiosi she detests, which is underpinned by the conflicting use of both lullabies at the same time and slice of dissonant suspense. Interestingly, the slice of suspense is introduced not long before and serves as a musical motif to address Esther’s vengeful mind. In the finale of the season a short lament is introduced, abruptly cut to the end credits music. The makers rather relied on the coherence of the same end titles music for each of the episodes, than to acknowledge the extraordinary events and allow the lament to flourish during the end credits.

Like all other seasons, the representation on compilations do not entirely do justice to the overall excellence of the score. 12 cues of La Piovra 4 were released, spread over several compilations, which if ever released together would make a solid listening experience. Yet, what’s really missing is a 30 minutes long carousel suite of La Piovra 4, with multiple variations of all the different musical ideas. Some enthusiasts have posted their own suite on the internet, usually from the entire series, and none of them are little more than a mediocre, traditional assemblance. Season 4 also reuses music from other Morricone scores; tracks from Il Vizietto 3, Fräulein Doktor and two suspense cues from Sacco & Venzetti, whom all feel like an integral part of the musical world of La Piovra.

La Piovra 4 was the last of the series to feature an overall brilliant score by Morricone, coinciding with the future decline of the series itself. It’s a testament of strong traditional scoring, in which all motifs and themes are used to up to their fullest potential and functionality. Of all remaining seasons, La Piovra 10 has the most interesting musical idea of them all. It's heard in two tracks, one of them being a chorale, inspired by the cue 1+1+1=4 from Menage all'italiana and music from La Tenda Rossa.

Tracklist (as released on various compilations combined)

1. La piovra (Main Title) 1:49
2. Arresto 2:40
3. Nel covo 2:19
4. Intimamente 3:22
5. Esther 4:07
6. Una pietra sopra 3:23
7. Morte di un giusto 2:08
8. Concentrazione 3:20
9. Per An-na 2:28
10. Per An-na 2:34
11. Ascolta 0:48
12. Una pietra sopra 3:23
13. Intimamente 3:16

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Released by

Cinevox (regular release 1989)