Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Godfather – Part II – Soundtrack

After more than half of the century of sound film there can be no doubts about music is meaningful element of the movie. After technology let the synchronization of moving pictures with realistic sound it became quite challenge for composers to create music enough good to lasts as long as movie will be in public circuit. In first period most of soundtracks were orchestral compositions, sometimes created by renowned composers like Hanns Eisler or Sergei Prokofiev who wrote famous scores for Sergei Eisenstein’s pictures Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible. In sixties great popularity gained new kind of soundtracks made as a collection of popular songs. But still the best music for the movie was composed in traditional manner. Sometimes these two attitudes were combined with great effects by combining original parts with previous melodies, often in new arrangement. Most ambitious attitude was to compose original music stylized as including external, folk or popular parts. Certainly such case was the music by Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola for The Godfather II which was awarded by 1974 Academy Award for Best Original Score.

The Godfather – Part II – Soundtrack (1974)

The program of The Godfather Part II soundtrack is more than impressive. Brilliant original score partly stylized as folk songs from Sicilian and American-Italian tradition or even popular dance melodies have been skillfully interweaved to create epic musical narration. All this material was connected on the level of illustrative and acting functions of music. And it was done in best manner of romantic music. In this score dramatic and characteristic orchestral illustrations known as essential element of every great movie narration base on few themes working sometimes in a way as a leitmotivs in opera. For example Kay has her own musical motive. Main theme can be connected to various situations, generally it illustrates immigrant’s uncertainty, nostalgic and hope. It is interesting how music valuate past and present day scenes. The two layers of narration showing alternately conclusions for similar questions and music is clearly connected to this opinions. 
Nino Rota scored the music and composed more than half of material. Second composer and director was Carmine Coppola, father of Francis Ford Coppola. Inter alia he composed one of the best example of stylized music – Marcia Stilo Italiano. Family connections gave this movie unique characteristics – it’s both dramatic and warm. Two additional songs have been written by Francesco Pennino, grandfather of the movie director and one by Italia Pennino, director’s mother.  Especially Francesco Pennino's Senza mamma sung by Livio Giorgi makes an impression of early twentieth century original vaudeville song. Great original themes set as stylized popular and dance music fragments and then put into use as illustrations of presented reality made together a stylish cycle of tasty pieces. Such choice has it’s close connections with form of baroque suite but giving listener satisfaction it also points the past was way much benevolent than the future.

1 comment:

shisha said...

One of the most brilliant highlights in the history of motion picture soundtracks. For sure.
Btw, I always loved "Senza mamma" :-)

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