Riz Ortolani is one of the few Italian composers that achieved major successes not only in his own country but also in the United States etc. His score for MONDO CANE which he co-wrote with Nino Oliviero gained him much recognition and the song in particular ďMOREĒ was an international hit and was recorded by literally hundreds if not more artists all over the world. Ortolani is for me one of the most lyrical Italian composers of film music, he creates simple but wonderfully haunting melodies and also has the ability to elevate a films storyline and various scenarios to a greater level via the placing of music and the style of music that he employs. He is no stranger to Police Dramas and Giallo movies plus he has scored numerous romantic films and a dozen or so westerns, many think or thought that Ortolani was not well suited to the Spaghetti western simply because the music he composed to the vast majority of the westerns he scored was romantically slanted or at least was certainly not as raw and savage as other soundtracks within the genre by other composers, but I suppose he disproved those ideas when he produced the high energy and action packed theme and score for DAY OF ANGER and later THE HUNTING PARTY. LA FACCIA VIOLENTA DI NEW YORK is a score with many styles within its perimeters, the compact disc opens with a cue that could easily be mistaken for the work of Lalo Schifrin, Ortolani employing bass that is punctuated by piano and supported by a backing track of tense sounding percussion which although tense is not overpowering. Track two, is the first outing for the scores central theme, Ortolani starts the proceedings with a short introduction of strings, then a male solo voice is introduced and mirrored by woodwind with punctuation coming from piano, percussion then is added to the equation as male voice woodwind and trumpet work as one to bring the central theme more fully into focus, all this is augmented by strings that add a certain romantic atmosphere and also there is the inclusion of guitar, the cue did I must admit put me in mind of the style of Francis Lai.
The melody being haunting and the orchestration is perfection. Track three is another variation on the central theme on this occasion the composition is led by solo guitar, which is then joined by subdued trumpet and underlying strings with piano and percussion creating a mid tempo beat. The score does I admit rely greatly on the central theme, but Ortolani manages to create new edges to the composition on each outing and arranges and orchestrates it with a freshness and a vibrant musicality so that it remains interesting and above all entertaining. Track number five, is a nice lounge or easy listening jazz led piece, in which the composer makes good and effective use of piano, bass, organ, electric guitar and brushed percussion, creating a club like atmosphere. Track six, is another laid back composition, with guitar taking the reins whilst being supported by percussion and piano. Jumping ahead to track number nineteen, which is the final cue on the compact disc, this is particularly attractive version of the central theme, performed on a lazy sounding trumpet, with luxurious sounding strings supporting and more or less embracing it, the trumpet fades and the strings come into play more prominently with a beautiful working of the theme, bringing the music to a close. The style here is similar to Ortolaniís haunting theme for THE VALACHI PAPERS, lush and emotive.
The score contains some dramatic and tense compositions, which I suppose must be taken for granted in a film of this genre, but Ortolani also creates numerous more relaxed and highly poignant moments within the score, which make this a soundtrack that is highly rewarding for any listener. The composer also makes effective use of Spanish guitar throughout the work, which is a reference to one of the movies main characters who is from Mexico. This score is perfect for lovers of jazzy cool tracks, laid back easy listening music, action lead cues that are tense and also romantically laced compositions, in fact there is something for everyone here, LA FACCIA VIOLENTA DI NEW YORK has a soundtrack that has certain affiliations with American scores for films of a similar style, and I agree with the liner notes when they make comparisons to Don Ellisís FRENCH CONNECTION scores and also Schifrinís DIRTY HARRY soundtracks, But there are also moments that evoke Luis Bacalovís WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY, and of course there is also definitely some original Ortolani in there as well. This is a very entertaining soundtrack and one which I recommend.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Erika
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