While many of his recent works have centred more on the comedic (Life is Beautiful, Tu Ridi and so on), Il Camorrista is in much more unsettling territory. At best guess, Il Camorrista (or Camorra Man) is some kind of government or mafia thriller, most definitely set in Italy, judging by the patriotically coloured packaging. Perhaps the most surprising thing is how little Piovani changes his trademark orchestrations to still fit with the blacker shades of this effort. As most people - well me, anyway - make certain comedic connections with honky tonk pianos and a little orchestra/band (you can sometimes imagine it working well as the live accompaniment to a silent caper), it is surprising that Piovani manages to just about pull off these sections so well. At other times, the tone is decidedly and appropriately more in Nino Rota territory, lonely trumpet solos and mournful strings (most notably in The Ancient Dirge) bringing back just a hint of The Godfather.
The main title, Il Camorrist features a trumpet theme against percussion, mandolin or pianola (I think) and urgent strings, easily setting the tone of the film. The out of tune piano (well, pianola) makes its first appearance in Rosaria with the second theme for the score. This is given an orchestral reprise midway through. It seems a little too urgent and harsh to be any kind of love theme, but isn't really action or suspense music and while not terribly memorable, does provide for a slight change in style and mood. There are quite a few nominal action cues, as such; The Professor features a running string motif set againts increasing urgent brass motifs, The Ring and the Snake uses the pianola against a more contemporary bass and percussion line and March of the Repentants reprises the pianola motif, although with a less urgent feel. The more dynamic cues are interspersed with a few sections of what might possibly be source music. Moderato Slow is, like the title says, a moderately slow dance tune led by a laid back trumpet figure and Vesuviano Piano Bar features some more typical honky tonk pianola music. The finale is too short and too limp to provide a truly satisfying close. One might expect a film like this to have some kind of payoff or upbeat finale, but the music rather just fizzles out, rather than end assuredly.
If this was written by anyone else, I would suppose the cry of 'Jerry Goldsmith could have written something better before breakfast' could be heard, but to be fair, I've not seen him doing much work for the Italian film industry recently. While Jerry might have written something edgier and more coherent, Piovani's score does at least have plenty of its own style and personality. Scores such as this can so easily become bland, with endless percussion led suspense cues that it is refreshing to hear something with its own personality. However, while there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the score, it isn't the kind of score that you'll be rushing back to, although Piovani fans will be pleased with the more matured style this score allows the composer to explore.