Masterpiece for a Classic
promessisposi (The betrothed, Les fiancés), one of the most important
Italian novels, has been adapted for cinema and TV a lot of times.
After 3 silent films, films versions date from 1941, and 1964
(music by Carlo Rustichelli). Odd and curious to guess how such
a big story could be summarized in 2 hours. The TV versions are
only two : those from 1967 (music by Fiorenzo Carpi) and the one
commented here, broadcast by RAI Uno in 1989.
Italian Allessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) saw all the troubles and
changes of the new and epic century, since his Paris period in 1805
onwards and his marriage in France with a Swiss woman. He remains
a moderated man, although his participation and support for the
Italian movement of political change, by his work and his influence
in the society, similarly to Verdi. They had other common points
together, including the knowledge and the taste for France and French
language, as often for Italian artists and cultured people had,
until the 20thcentury. And as this other great Italian artist of
the same romantic period, he was put in the list of respected personalities
to be "senator", in 1870 when the new Parliament had the
duty to confirm the unification and to begin to concretely organize
the first version of the novel (called "Fermo e Lucia"),
he wrote the final one, published around 1840, in a popular but
cultured language from the Toscan region which became, partly thanks
to the writer, the Italian language. And also because of its novelty
- speaking about simple people -, it made the genre more modern,
with details of the real life of a past century, for the audience
of the "Risorgimento" (period of revolts and civil wars
going towards unification of Italy, with important and unequal leaders
as Garibaldi, prime minister Cavour, Mazzini).
implied that he told in another form a real chronic of the Milan
region transcribed by an anonymous author. He above all wanted to
put some pedagogy of the Christian values (now forgotten, they could
mean nowadays moral, ethic ones), to demonstrate that evil actions
will always be punished and the "pure heart" people will
always save themselves. But this happens only after a long course,
a sort of initiatory quest, illustrating a certain philosophy of
life. So the characters represent life in the possible actions and
events, often not wanted, into the troubles.
complicated plot (told in 38 chapters) located in Lombardia (Milano
region, as Manzoni's childhood), near the lake of Como (Lago di
Como) around 1630, is settled during the Spanish domination. Renzo
Tramaglino and Lucia Mondella (Randy Quinn, Delphine Forrest) decided
to marry, but a little Lord, Don Rodrigo (Gary Cady) wants to catch
Lucia for his personal desire and forces the not courageous priest
Don Abbondio (Alberto Sordi) to not celebrate the marriage. The
young betrothed then leaves the village to escape and Lucia, with
her mother Agnese, helped by the monk Fra(tello) Cristoforo (Franco
Nero) enter a convent in Monza. Gertrude (AntonellaElia), the so-called
"monaca di Monza", Mother (head) of the convent, takes
Lucia under her protection. With flashbacks, we learn her difficult
childhood with a forced engagement as a nun, and the way she became
later with ambition and hardness the Mother of the convent. Episodes
of Gertrude's life and other nuns are also shown in their hidden
aspects (strict discipline, sex, domination, ...).
the meantime, Renzo goes to Milano to get some help, with some naiveness.
is kidnapped by "L'innominato" (F. Murray Abraham,
always perfect in ugly roles), a dark leader full of violence,
as Rodrigo asked him. Very soon, Renzo becomes unsure,
tormented and full of remorse towards Lucia and lets go
this angel. Meeting the Cardinal FederigoBorromeo (the
great Burt Lancaster in one of his last roles), he regrets
his past actions, asks forgiveness and publicly announces
his decision to change his life.
Milano, Renzo is caught in the middle of a revolt and
crowd movements caused by the lack of food and the war
episodes. Without his consent, he is taken as one of the
revolts leaders and is forced to leave. The region is
now devastated by war and illness ("La peste"
= plague). Returning to Milano, Renzo finds his promised
at a sort of health center of the period ("lazaret"),
where Fra Cristoforo works for the numerous ill people.
Don Rodrigo is there, dying.
such an amount of troubles, the betrothed can finally
this mini-series in 5 episodes of 1H35 each, RAI Uno called
Salvatore Nocita. Born in 1934, unknown director of numerous
documentaries and TV mini-series, his first direction
is ... I Nicotera(1972, scored by PieroPiccioni, with
2 songs arranged by EM). Well shot and photographed, the
film presents a credible historical setting, helped with
excellent actors' perfor-mances, never sounding artificial.
The mini-series has never been released on DVD so far.
But some good portions can be found on the net, especially
on Youtube and Rai for school purposes. You can find and
select in the menu several chapters like this one: http://www.raiscuola.rai.it/articoli/i-promessi-sposi-renzo-nei-guai-cap-xiv/3988/default.aspx.
Manzoni's saga, Morricone wrote a lot of themes, well
featured in the FonitCetra/Rai Trade LP/CD. He wrote a
symphonic music with some choir pieces, in a classical
style, but still used soloist instruments and atmospheres
to express the fatality and the weight of the troubles
of this long story. Note that these pieces are not heard
: Gertrude, La peste (in its disc featuring), Don Abbondio,
L'azzec-cagarbugli, Violenza e saccheggio, Lucia. As often,
the disc marks the revenge of the music composed for the
film, in featuring a good part of unheard, or very partially
heard, tracks such as the excellent and powerful La rivoltadel
each main character has his/her own theme: L'innominato,
Don Abbondio, L'azzeccagarbugli, Fra Cristoforo, and Gertrude/La
monaca di Monza even has two. On the contrary Renzo or
Lucia doesn't have any personal original theme. But we
can maybe understand it, since we have in I promessisposia
general one, because their actions and situations have
big influence in the whole story (reinforced by the fact
that the track Luciais based on this first theme, not
a separate one). Don Rodrigo is too weak to have the honor
of a theme : only incidental and tension music. For the
main titles, I promessisposiis edited in a shortened rendition,
while Addio Monti functions as end titles music. The latter
illustrates also some transitions scenes in which the
lake of Como is crossed by Renzo or Lucia, evoking calmness
and immobility (central picture of the disc cover). Monti
is not a person, as the title erroneously suggests: Manzoni
wrote "Addio ai Monti" (Farewell to the Mounts).
some more and less interesting music is missing. After
the unfair mixing in Marco Polo, the music is here better
featured, more respected by the dialogues and noises.
of published themes
main theme, as a general one both for the story and for
the betrothed, has without surprises the biggest number
of arrangements, as Marco Polohad, and with the alto again.
notice it first when Rodrigo's men search for Lucia in
the laundry where she works (2'10),a very nice version
for strings and alto solo, majestic after a new intro.
Fortunately, it has a complete appearance at the end for
the numerous dead from the plague (2'32).
version for strings only has two different appearances:
one, heard a couple of times, for orchestra, very nice
and solemn (1'30); the second one, short but not truncated,
for strings, sweeter and working as a transition, heard
at least 4 times (0'28).
solo alto version illustrates an entertainment scene,
so almost a source music (2'03). It seems to be a logic
choice because at this moment, Renzo arrives and joins
temporarily Lucia around the middle of the story.
on the Fra Cristoforotheme, has a close variant : the
choir begins sooner, and maybe with other differences,
it makes a different impression compared to the original.
discreet arrangements change a lot La monaca di Monza's theme: a
romantic solo violin for an intimate meeting, a hardly hearable
excerpt of a version for mandolin and strings, another slow and
sad version for mandolin and strings as a first part of the new
theme at strings for a sex scene, and a short one with strings,
when the man entered in the convent, hurt the nun after the sex
scene mentioned above. It proves that there were much more other
complete versions than the two published ones.
well heard in several portions (soldiers scenes), is sometimes featured
the most curious is La Peste, absent in its disc form, but adapted
for scenes with Rodrigo's men and some others describing the plague.
Only the scansions are present, the treatment is similar but not
identical, and the track has its real end at 0'39.
and source music
tracks, more anecdotical and lasting less than 1 minute, still bring
novelty and variety to the whole soundtrack.Renzo travels a lot
and meets many people during the story, so there are many crowd
scenes where street and popular music is heard.
episode 1, Renzo's fugue has three tracks (of 0'30 each), one for
flute and guitar when he is in the middle of the market, one for
guitar solo in the inn (surely a part of the same track) and one
for mandoline, when prostitutes are seen. Later, a sort of carnival
in a crowded street presents a mix of different music, opened and
closed by a classical fanfare piece: a solo violin soon covered
by typically public feast music with flute, percussion and so on
(around 1 minute).
interesting is the violin solo music in episode 2: entertaining,
on a new theme, they are in the same ancient style (0'58 and 0'29),
clearly one single track.
5 features the best and the biggest number of tracks with firstly
another, different, solo violin in 3 parts, as street music, more
19th than 17th century, very nice (the whole 1'35). A feast is illustrated
by a carnival music, nothing special to report (0'34 listenable).
1 begins immediately after the titles with the first unreleased
track for an attack by horse riders, the men of Don Rodrigo
against a woman, defended by peasants (0'58). This buoyant
theme for strings is reprised later but in the same episode,
in a longer shape, when the same team hunts a wild boar.
Another featuring of it is even heard but covered by many
after the first track, the men enter a laundry, in order
to search for Lucia, on behalf of Rodrigo. Slow strings
illustrates this search, before Lucia appears on the Ipromessisposi
Abbondio, witness of the very first attack scene, comes
back at home with some fear, accompanied by a strings
Renzo goes to meet the priest for his wedding preparation,
a solo guitar is heard.
Brother Cristoforo is admitted as a monk, a classical
style music illustrates it. It could have been doubtful
that Morricone wrote this piece but since it is similar
to pieces from El Greco, it is by his hand (confirmed
by a well-documented Italian correspondent). In the scene
at the convent just before, watching Cristoforo behind
Jesus' cross, a short strings track is heard, more suspenseful.
short track, a transition on loud strings treatment is
similar to the strings treatment of a theme from La battaglia
themes are linked though to the serious, frustrated and
unfathomable Mother of the convent, played by the pretty
Antonella Elia, whose beauty makes understand she didn't
have any choice in her life. Since Gertrude, one the most
magnificent pieces of the CD, is curiously not used, her
scenes are mainly illustrated by austere religious choirs
(not by EM, see below), tension music and versions from
La monaca di Monza.
the 3rd episode, she has a nightmare: menacing strings
(1'16). In a following sequence, Gertrude has sex with
a man (Egidio) entered in the convent. We have here a
rather long track (2'34) introduced by the more sad variant
from La monaca di Monza (mentioned in published themes),
one of the nicest discoveries. The sinuous strings, though
not featuring a real theme, present an interesting and
elaborated development, by luck clearly heard.
in the 4thepisode, a scene in which Renzo hides himself in a factory
makes hear a flute track and mandolin, so almost a source music
but without seeing the players, probably a part of a whole piece
of source music (see above). A second little motive for xylophone
is heard when Renzo walks on the streets in the 4thepisode, again
almost a source music.
the end, when the plague infects numerous people, two scenes featuring
Don Rodrigo have new music: he is dying on an atmospheric music
(1'21), and soon he has hallucinations, with different music but
in the same haunting vein (0'57). Just after, for the dead people
of plague, a slow new theme introduces I promessisposifor alto and
strings. And at last, when Renzo is at the "lazaret" and
sees Don Rodrigo dying, he takes his hand and a short sweet track
is heard, more an introduction than a theme.
and suspense music
strings scansions are perceived here and there, but they are short
and of course anecdotic, for punctuation effects. Longer tracks
again for strings used the same way to underline some tension or
to insist with large scansions, not important either.
Cristoforo fencing with one of Rodrigo's men has a strident strings
track. Noticeable are two other strident treatments, with electronic
effects, because they recall Fat man and little boy's tension tracks.
No surprising : the year is the same, 1989.
has a lot of scenes in the 4thepisode, always illustrated by dark
music. He often decides and stays alone. But before, in the 2ndepisode,
he searches for a man and asks his men to catch and kill him: percussions,
menacing strings. We have in the 4thepisode, firstly 3 incidental
tracks of about 0'40 each, including the Fat man ... similar treatment.
His entire "torment and remorse" scene contains the main
unreleased piece (3'04), in two parts: unquiet strings (1'28), and
a part for percussion with suspense strings, partly reprised at
least 3 times elsewhere, including the scene in which he declares
publicly that he regrets and menaces to kill himself with a knife.
iraein a nice arrangement for choir, percussion and bells marks
his spiritual change at this step, just before meeting Cardinal
more pieces from the mini-series were not used and published later
as concert music: Due pezzisacri. They were finally not used by
the director as "too difficult", which makes a good part
of Morricone's collectors smile, having heard much more difficult/painful
soundtracks from the Seventies to the Nineties!
first piece (I. Circumdederunt me fluctus mortis) has been published
in Pasolini, un delittoitaliano(1995) as the well-known Requiem,
and was used as a basis of a good number of tracks of this film,
and later for 3 tracks from Karol, un Papàrimastouomo.
second one (II.Gratiasagite Domino), less dark, evokes some fatality,
desolation but invites to calmness.
both two tracks are indeed a nice addition, well-worthy
to belong to a Morricone collection; and can be found
together in the CD "Percorsi" (NANS, 1996) and
the 2CD set "The sacred and the profane" (BMG,
learn useful information upon Due pezzisacriwith the updated
appendix of Morricone's works by musicologist Sergio Miceli,
in his book "La musicà, el cine" (Mitemas, Spain,
1997), translation of his "La musica, il cinema"
(RicordiMucchi, Italy, 1994).After linking the pieces
to this mini-series, with the precision of the director's
choice, he reports EM's decision to finally add it to
his concert music catalog in 1996, and not before. Furthermore,
he mentions their original titles: Borromeo e L'innominato(for
the scene where the evil man expresses his remorse and
makes his conversion) and Finale (scenes of the lazaret,
Rodrigo dying and the definitive reunion of the betrothed).
Musical credits of the first performance : in Budapest
by Sinfonia MAV (09/18/1990). EdizioniSuviniZerboni's
website mentions a later concert in Roma at the Basilica
S. by Orchestra e coro del teatrodell'Opera conducted
by D. Renzetti (11/16/1996).
pieces entitled AddioMonti, Il lazaretto and Fra Cristoforohave
been played in concerts. Revisions from the originals but in the
same climates though, the first one was released alone in 2003 (Arena
concerto CD and after) and the second one on the theme La peste,
took part of the Rome concerts of 2006 in a suite of the whole 4
themes cited here (La miamusica 6CD box, 2008). Note that La Peste/Il
lazarettocould have been, with its impressive, haunting climate
and slow-paced tempo, a "Terzopezzosacro"! The concert
version of Fra Cristoforo, in the original orchestration, only presents
a slower performance. But a new piece was discovered as Inlectulomeo.
Credited in the end titles to Henry Dumont (1610-1684), it is sung
in the mini-series by a female-only choir. Thus, the concert version,
for mixed choir, is a new arrangement.
non Morricone music
religious pieces for female choir are credited in the end titles:
-In lectulomeo, in two scenes linked to Gertrude.
-Adestefidelesby Henry Dumont, after Christmas chant of St Bonaventure,
XVIII° century, John F. Wade.
-Ave Mariaby Jacques Arcadelt (1504-1568).
The 2 last
ones are hardly recognizable in the series, but, apart from Inlectulo
..., 4 choir pieces are heard. The credits mention : "Cantiliturgicieseguiti
da Insiemevocale da camera ad eporedienseanonymi Cantores di Milano".
credits mention : "Cantiliturgicieseguiti da Insiemevocale
da camera ad eporedienseanonymi Cantores di Milano".
liturgical music: one for a liturgic solo organ, one for organ and
then a choir.
profane classical music is present, first with a chamber piece for
a string quartet, at Gertrude's father's home. Maybe it is what
the credits mention as "Wirhaben gar keineSorgen".
from popular source music by EM, three popular songs are performed
a capellain the inn and outside by Maria Monti(0'30, 0'39and 0'49)Singer
and actress, seen in films like, among others, Giù la testa, Cosaavetefatto
a Solange, Novecento. She was involved in some other Moricone music:
4 songs arranged by EM (1960) and later sang Scappafratelloscappa,
one of the two Morricone songs of Imputazione di omicidio per un
studente.. She is credited : "Cantipopolarieseguiti da Maria
Monti". The whole non EM music runs around 12 minutes.
conclusion and information about the unreleased tracks recorded
the Due pezzisacri(12'22) to the LP/CD the published music lasts
66'40. The unreleased tracks, only those hearable but without the
repeated tracks below, run 46'30. So we can totalize a little less
than 2 hours of music, not including the non Morricone music of
course. Since this composer always records much more than useful,
and usually several variations for the main themes, and always more
than what is heard both in film and on disc, we can guess that he
wrote more than these 2 hours; 2h30 or 2h45 would be fair.
academic as the subject required and without big novelties, but
dense, varied with meditative, epic, solemn aspects and very pleasant
to listen to,I promessisposi's music could be compared to Tredonne,
Marco Polo (common point: the prominent alto),and Secret of the
Sahara, if the criterion is limited to his TV mini-series scores
with huge amount of music that became classic.
this article, a new idea is launched to couple it with music, making
surely the whole more interesting for the collectors who wished
to know the unreleased tracks, although with noise sometimes (but
long dialogues avoided).
files are available in .rar format. You simply first have to download
the Winrar program (free, like here : http://download.cnet.com/WinRAR-32-bit/3001-2250_4-10007677.html?spi=85b87ce63f4fae275d1089ac7f2cdfe9).
Then, you can download the files by clicking on the following 2
internet link to download the Morricone unreleased music : https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0ZW0ql7kvdnZ3pKcTlOcUtnenc/edit?usp=sharing
link to download the non-Morricone music : https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0ZW0ql7kvdnYjJGNnVYZnJObjQ/edit?usp=sharing
you can extract the mp3 tracks from the .rar files, play and burn
several tracks are listened several times in different shapes in
the series, 4 themes have been recorded twice: the opening new "chase"
theme (0'58), pertinent to begin the recording with, and featured
later in a longer form (1'52), I promessisposifororchestra and alto
with its new intro (at the two extremities of the mini-series),
the same theme at strings only (1'23), and its short different version
(0'28) at another moment, to make some variety and "breath"
to the tracks selection. It also gives justice to the tracks as
heard in the movie, as Arrivodeilanziwithout percussion. Tracks
are in chronological order, apart from few ones moved.