IL PRIMO INCARICO – Donatello Pisanello

Original Review by Alan Rogers

The beauty with the increasing availability of digital media outlets for soundtracks is being able to hear music that you would not normally expect to hear from films you would not normally expect to come across. Il Primo Incarico (The First Assignment) is an Italian movie from 2011 which follows Nena travelling far from home for her first job as a schoolteacher. She’s in love with someone in the village she has to leave but promises she’ll remain faithful. However, the isolated school she goes to teach at has a handsome stubbly handyman who seems to have an eye for the ladies… Director Giogria Cecere has turned to “journalist, musician, arranger and composer” Donatello Pisanello to score this Italian drama.

The short (30 minute) score revolves around 2-3 ideas that appear in a variety of versions, played by a small ensemble of players (acoustic guitar, cello and double bass). The theme for Nena is a beautiful theme that we first hear arranged for acoustic guitar and cello and we hear it in full in the second track, “Tena di Nena”. Most of the tracks found in this release sound more like concert pieces rather than underscore for a film: tracks are self-contained pieces with themes or ideas being restated unchanged or with slightly different arrangements. This could get a little boring if the melodies themselves were not as attractive as the themes Pisanello has composed. One slight blemish in the score however is the 5-minute “La Voce delle Foglie”. Pisanello has an interest in sound manipulation and in this particular track he takes a repeating acoustic guitar idea and plays with the sound, electrifying the guitar as well as adding some electronic and percussive sounds to the mix. By the end of this long track I had got the idea and was eager to move on to the next track. It’s a problem that’s regularly found on soundtrack albums that try to provide examples of a score’s breadth but can damage the listening experience.

Pisanello has produced a lovely series of tracks that will linger in the memory of this reviewer and that’s increasingly difficult to say with today’s more mainstream output of film scores. This is certainly an example of the benefit of today’s move to digital media releases and I certainly recommend readers hunt this one down. Il Primo Incarico is available as a download at most outlets.

Audio samples can be found HERE and then click on blue arrow next to running time for samples of entire album or individual tracks.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  1. Terra e Pietre (2:15)
  2. Tema di Nena (3:52)
  3. Il Resto della Giornata (2:39)
  4. Tema di Nena (Version II) (0:44)
  5. Ritorno a Scuola (2:11)
  6. La Voce delle Foglie (5:10)
  7. Il Restro della Giornata (Version II) (0:31)
  8. Tema di Nena (Version III) (1:31)
  9. Il Resto della Giornata (Version III) (1:04)
  10. Ritorno a Scuola (Version II) (7:00)
  11. Sempre Attese (2:36)

Running Time: 29:37

Fonit Cetra WMI/Warner Chappell Music Italiana (2011)



  1. Would you consider this soundtrack chamber work?

    • I would define chamber work purely in terms of the size of the group of players used in the production of the music. The score certainly fits that description. It sounds like 2-3 players only. So, I would say “yes” in reply to your question.

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