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The Legend of 1900
1998 Italian

1999 American

Co-Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
Ennio Morricone

Performed by:
Accademia Musicale Italiana

Featured Soloists:
Fausto Anzelmo
Gianni Butta
Gianni Oddi
Cicci Santucci

Co-Composed and Piano Performances by:
Amedco Tommasi

Labels and Dates:
Sony Music

Sony Classical
(October 12th, 1999)

Audio Clips:
1999 American Album:

1. 1900's Theme (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (246K)
Real Audio (153K)

2. The Legend of the Pianist (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

3. The Crisis (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

7. Playing Love (0:32):
WMA (211K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

The 1998 commercial Italian release existed under the name The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean and has different packaging, contains more music, and is more expensive and difficult to find. The 1999 American album is a regular release.

  Winner of a Golden Globe.

The Legend of 1900

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Our Price: $9.99
Used Price: $0.35

Sales Rank: 61799

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Buy it... if you seek a faithful souvenir from the film, for the various album incarnations for this soundtrack reflect the sometimes disjointed marriage of the styles of drama and jazz in the film.

Avoid it... if you expect to hear anything radically new or impressive from Ennio Morricone, despite his unsuccessful attempts to use Gershwin-style jazz as counterpoint to his standard orchestral melodrama.

The Legend of 1900: (Ennio Morricone) The second popular film by director Giuseppe Tornatore to seek an ambitious, Awards-seeking distribution in America within a ten-year span, The Legend of 1900 unfortunately suffered from the same editing problems as the Oscar-winning Cinema Paradiso. Not only was its translation from Italian into English haphazard at best, Fine Line Features insisted that well over half an hour of length be trimmed from the picture, diluting its story. Still, Tornatore knows how to crank out the tearjerkers, even if they are transparent in their attempts. Originally titled La Leggenda Del Pianista Sull'Oceano in Europe, The Legend of 1900 still manages, in its edited form, to tell the life story of a famed piano performer of the early 20th Century who is born and abandoned on a cruise liner, playing to adoring crowds on the ship throughout his life and facing dilemmas of love and land that challenge his intent to spend his entire existence on the liner. Outstanding visual sensibilities are complimented by a soundtrack that is very much a reflection of the ragtime and other jazz styles of the era. Tornatore's longtime collaborator, Ennio Morricone, composed original music for The Legend of 1900, in addition to the adaptation of source pieces appropriate for the actual performances in the film. He employed the help of pianist Amedco Tommasi, who co-wrote several of the most frenetic sequences on the instrument heard in the film. The style that Morricone applied to the film is extremely predictable and will please the many longtime collectors of the composer's works. There is an unapologetic romanticism to be heard in the primary orchestral statements of the film's main themes, a sound that will be very familiar to veteran film music ears. This flowing orchestral harmony fits well with the sentimentality of the story and of the era, though Morricone also taps the style of George and Ira Gershwin to serve as accents to that material, and hints of Scott Joplin are prevalent in the significant solo piano portions. The combination of these sounds produce a mixed bag of a score. It won a Golden Globe for Morricone, but it didn't prove to have strong, lasting appeal after the initial blitz of media attention afforded to the film and its soundtrack.

The title theme is a very typical Morricone powerhouse, which is a positive in the sense that it serves The Legend of 1900 well, but it also lacks originality in its tone and structure. Morricone does attempt to give the theme a twist, often adding wild Gershwin-style piano ramblings as counterpoint. But as heard in the latter moments of "1900's Theme," Morricone doesn't handle the combination well, with the piano never complimenting the orchestra with enough synchrony to function. His attempts flourish in parts of "The Legend of the Pianist," however, with the cue's second and third minutes offering attractive woodwind and brass counterpoint mixed at an eerie distance. But later in that cue, more impromptu performances by the same elements offer a spirit far too energetic for the dying orchestral statements of theme. The awkward balance of jazz and drama extends to the two "Crisis" cues, the first of which effectively forces the striking of two adjoining piano keys to produce a slightly dissonant effect that is, on album, quite annoying. The thematic extensions in the two "Playing Love" cues are a highlight, with the first of the two rotating performances of the theme beautifully between instruments that, if not for the eventual trumpet solo, betray the Italian sensibility of the composer. Another theme is introduced in "Child," which better accomplishes the merging of the two music genres, though a brass flub at 0:45 into the cue is distracting (unless it's a poor attempt to once again intentionally slur high notes). Despite their impressive performances, the many solo piano cues in the latter half of the album releases for The Legend of 1900 are somewhat mundane, as are the final two score tracks (which end the experience on a distinctly sour note, literally). Former Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters offers a soothing vocal performance of Morricone's theme in "Lost Boys Calling," a song that only adds to the character crisis that the composer has already caused in his orchestral and piano material. Two source cues (pieces by Jelly Roll Morton and Scott Joplin) round out the album. A lengthier version of the soundtrack was initially available in Europe; the running time of the later, American album was cut to coincide with the shorter version of the film in that country. Despite its singular orchestral highlights and Golden Globe win, The Legend of 1900 is surprisingly average, disjointed, and unengaging. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Ennio Morricone reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3 (in 8 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.29 (in 8,151 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings (1998 Italian Album): Total Time: 65:58

• 1. Playing Love (4:26)
• 2. The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean (8:04)
• 3. The Crisis (2:46)
• 4. Peacherine Rag - written by Scott Joplin (2:37)
• 5. A Goodbye to Friends (2:32)
• 6. Study for Three Hands (0:59)
• 7. Tarantella in 3rd Class* (1:28)
• 8. Enduring Movement* (1:26)
• 9. Police* (0:47)
• 10. Trailer (1:37)
• 11. Thanks Danny* (3:23)
• 12. A Mozart Reincarnated (1:57)
• 13. Child (2:44)
• 14. Magic Waltz* (2:30)
• 15. The Goodbye Between Nineteen Hundred and Max* (3:43)
• 16. Goodbye Duet* (2:32)
• 17. Nineteen Hundred's Madness N. 1 (2:14)
• 18. Danny's Blues (2:09)
• 19. Second Crisis (2:02)
• 20. The Crave - written by Jelly Roll Morton (1:46)
• 21. Nocturne With No Moon (2:41)
• 22. Before the End (1:10)
• 23. Playing Love (3:02)
• 24. Ships and Snow (2:28)
• 25. Nineteen Hundred's Madness N. 2 (1:47)
• 26. I Can and Then (2:16)
• 27. Silent Goodbye (1:38)
• 28. 5 Portraits* (3:57)
• 29. Lost Boys Calling - performed by Roger Waters (5:17)

* track not contained on American release

 Track Listings (1999 American Album): Total Time: 57:39

• 1. 1900's Theme (1:38)
• 2. The Legend of the Pianist (8:04)
• 3. The Crisis (2:47)
• 4. The Crave - written by Jelly Roll Morton (1:46)
• 5. A Goodbye to Friends (2:33)
• 6. Study for Three Hands (1:00)
• 7. Playing Love (4:26)
• 8. A Mozart Reincarnated (1:58)
• 9. Child (2:45)
• 10. 1900's Madness #1 (2:14)
• 11. Danny's Blues (2:09)
• 12. Second Crisis (2:03)
• 13. Peacherine Rag - written by Scott Joplin (2:37)
• 14. Nocturne with No Moon (2:41)
• 15. Before the End (1:11)
• 16. Playing Love (3:03)
• 17. I Can and Then (2:17)
• 18. 1900's Madness #2 (1:48)
• 19. Silent Goodbye (1:37)
• 20. Ships and Snow (2:29)
• 21. Lost Boys Calling - performed by Roger Waters (5:19)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The inserts for both albums include no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Legend of 1900 are Copyright © 1999, Sony Music, Sony Classical. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/6/99 and last updated 8/3/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1999-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.