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Comments about the soundtrack for The Godfather Trilogy (Compilation)

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Texture of sound in this CD
• Posted by: byro
• Date: Thursday, April 29, 2004, at 1:35 a.m.
• IP Address:

This is a fabulous re-recording of the score. The original albums were of a low analogue quality and it is good to hear the freshness of digital music on this CD.

However, while some tracks are so good that they could stand as definitive titles, others are a little lacking in the Sicilian flavour of the orignal releases. The main Godfather Waltz and Love Theme on this CD are probably the best versions out there. The original Waltz went a little overboard on the mandolin plucking, and there was a lot of uneccessary bass and choral work in the Love Theme. Here, however, these tracks are perfectly balanced between grand orchestral and Italian street-corner style, which reflects Rota's precise intention for his original work.

Some other tracks, however, don't quite strike this balance, and lean a little too close to controlled and reserved classical playing. Indeed, this CD lacks any solo mandolin, guitar - or generally any small scale "clattery" instruments. This probably explains why there isn't more material from the Godfather Part II here. This film contained very good tracks which revolved around this small-scale band theme. The only performance we get of "A New Carpet" is in the finale, and while still fun, it is pretty subdued and without the boistrousness of the original. The same applies to Part I, for the beautiful guitar-based renditions of the Love Theme which ended the "Sicilian Pastoral" track in the original release have been omitted from it. The Marches (especially the Marcia religiosa for the Fanucci murder) also sound much more reserved and traditionally orchestral than the other performances elsewhere. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for the original release on the Part II CD was a bit disappointing because of its shortness and flatulent brass in very elaborately mixed stereo fields. The performance of this track in "The Godfatehr Suite" was far more interesting and enrgetic, but lacked some of the best percussive elements of the film. However, it is still a bit of a let down that the rendition on this CD serves as just another interpretation of the music, rather than something definitive and faithful to its form in the film.

While these are examples of where the CD doesn't quite manage to capture as grand a feel of the energy in the music as it could have, the Opera intrumentals in Part III and all the finales (especially the first with its haunting vocals - far superior to the one in the original release) are performed with the best mood and clarity thus far achieved for the Godfather, and these alone make it a worthwhil purchase.

To summarize, this is worth having for any Godfather fan because the recording is so well done - especially the main themes, which are probably the best versions around. However, where this CD flounders a little is in its later tracks (especially the marches and Part II material) where the Sicilian element becomes quite subdued by the traditional nature of the orchestra. For people who want the full Italian flavour of the Godfather I'd recommend seeking out other CDs as well as this one, such as the Godfather Suite and maybe the originals too. Despite the fact that this is probably the best recording thus far of the Godfather score in a technical sense, it is a shame that it is not quite strong nor full enough to satisfy every enthusiast's musical thirst.

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