Senso '45

Ennio Morricone

" On the album, L'Orchestrina del Circolo Ufficiali (3:31), sounds like nothing we have not heard before, but in its extended use in the film as the sex party, is displayed is incredibly inspiring and enjoyable "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Senso' 45 (Black Angel) marked the second collaboration between Tinto Brass and Morricone, after their rather good collaboration on the 1983 La Chiave. Comprehending the career of Tinto Brass, in his adaptation of a novel earlier made into a film by Visconti, this filmmaker takes it into another direction, including sleazy, soft to semi-frontal sexual images, other typical Brass trademarks, some melodramatic and love content, set against the backdrop of the last days of the Italy's fascist regime during World War II. A woman called Livia becomes hugely attracted (and in) love with SS-officer Helmut, while people around her prepare to choose sides, to come out of the war as the befriended of either the allies or the partisans. It's a film about her being overzealous and over desiring in her attraction to the German officer, blinded by the fact that he is all done with the war, and is egocentric and loose in his many affairs with other women. So the tension of their fragile relationship and the underlying conditions of the war become the centre point of the film, despite all the peculiar Tinto Brass trademarks.

The score includes a fine fascist suspense theme, with martial military elements and melodrama, an atypical love theme for pianoforte and strings (insanely cheesy in at least one love scene between the two, as they are at sea), sleazy jazzy music and more. The album presents themes, which have not been included in the film, but then again, the film offers some material not heard on the album.

While the overall score, in and out of context, revisits a lot of Morricone trademarks, with the viola, flute and much else, yet both are very much above average. There's both psychological content and quirkiness to the use of music, which I think is best presented by two things in the film. First, there's the pièce de résistance, a recognizable, minimal fascist theme performed by strings, piano, flute and other woodwinds; a rhythmic piece which goes on for 9 minutes in the film, supporting a sex party attended by both main characters.. On the album, L'Orchestrina del Circolo Ufficiali (3:31), sounds like nothing we have not heard before, but in its extended use in the film as the sex party is displayed, is incredibly inspiring and enjoyable, supported by wonderful cinematography. On screen, we see several women, slightly undressed in (fascist) uniforms, performing the instruments, in which this music takes on the form of diegetic music. Once Livia finds Helmut and gives her away as a prize at a gambling table, the music drops in volume and becomes less present and attractive.

The second most interesting musical part is a foghorn of a ship, as Viola travels back to the Helmut, on an actual ship, and other transportation vehicles. This ominous sound, I think emulated by an orchestral instrument by Morricone, continues as she goes back to his flat, finding out the Helmut also indulges with other woman, destroying her view of him as the ultimate lover, blinded by the fact he was clearly never going to be loyal to her.

While I value the music of Morricone both on the 2002 CD by ConcertOne and in the film, I also recommend the 'isolated' score on DVD and Blu-ray releases, which regrettably only offers the CD release' music.

1. Amore e Guerra (3:44)
2. L'Alba del Tramonto (5:34)
3. Violenza d'Amore (2:01)
4. Tre Viole Appassionate (2:25)
5. Un Pianoforte... Alla Finestra 02:57)
6. Un Letto e Due Corpi 06:49)
7. Sottilmente Romantico (3:46)
8. Disegni Oltre... (3:15)
9. Pensieri Fuori Campo (2:15)
10. Sul Letto (2:05)
11. Amore e Guerra (1:49)
12. Dolore Come Amore (2:28)
13. L'Orchestrina del Circolo Ufficiali (3:31)

Total Duration: 42:39

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 4 votes - average 2.75/5)

Released by

ConcertOne (regular release 2002)