IL MISTERO DEL LAGO – Alessandro Molinari


Original Review by Alan Rogers

RTI/Made In Etaly is a label that regularly releases soundtracks from Italian TV productions. Several of these releases are worthy of reaching as wide an audience as possible (see my recent review of Marco Betta’s score for Maria Montessori: Una Vita Per I Bambini). Il Mistero Del Lago (directed by Marco Serafini) is an Italian TV movie from 2009 in which a teacher is sent to a house located in the middle of a lake to teach two young orphans. You know that things are not going to go smoothly when the body of the orphans previous teacher is found on the shores of the lake. Based loosely on Henry James’ short novel, The Turn of The Screw, the drama is steeped in a mysterious atmosphere where visions, apparitions and shady pasts are much in evidence. Italian composer Alessandro Molinari composes a score, predominantly made up of strings and woodwinds, to add a layer of intrigue to the film without resorting too much to shock tactics.

Track 6, “La Signorina Andreani” features a lovely theme that highlights the way in which the composer uses the strings of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra to give the score a full sound that concentrates on music rather than suspenseful soundscapes and ambience. For “La Signorina Andreani” the theme is heard in the strings and it is then repeated as it is passed to various sections of the orchestra. A solo piano version closes out the album. “Il Salvataggio In Mare” is another good example of how Molinari uses strings to accentuate the drama effectively. And the composer uses the various sections within the strings too in order to heighten the drama: “Il Funerale Della Petri” features low strings as a support for the visuals in the form short descending motifs and tremolo notes rather than having a particularly sad theme. 

“La Villa Sul Lago” starts off the score and a combination of descending piano scales and the use of a glockenspiel gives a sense of unease with a child-like quality. There’s a undulating feel to much of the music in this cue – as well as other tracks – suggestive of water, perhaps the lake surrounding the island on which the house sits (a lot of the same devices are heard later in “Il Lago”). It is worth mentioning here that “La Villa Sul Lago” appears to be repeated almost in identical fashion in the later cue, “Suicido Dallo Scoglio”.

Il Mistero Del Lago is a short album – just over 20 minutes in length – for a movie running to 100 minutes, suggesting that the music here is only a fraction of what may have been composed. In saying that, the music that is featured on the album does have a level of similarity running through it and may indicate that many of the ideas in the score are used repeatedly throughout the film. Molinari’s score contains some good tracks, with “La Signorina Andreani” and “Il Funerale Della Petri” being my personal favourites. For a film that reportedly relies on many standard shock devices (slamming doors and windows, etc) it is nice to hear a score that keeps away from similar musical devices (at least on the evidence of this album). Il Mistero Del Lago is available from online digital retailers such as iTunes and eMusic.com and is worth hunting down.

Rating: **½

  1. La Villa Sul Lago (2:24)
  2. Il Salvataggio In Mare (1:40)
  3. Fuga Della Petri (0:49)
  4. In Soffitta (0:50)
  5. Il Lago (1:19)
  6. La Signorina Andreani (1:59)
  7. Suicidio Dallo Scoglio (2:22)
  8. La Verita’ Viene Fuori (1:10)
  9. Il Piano Sul Lago (1:20)
  10. Arrivo Alla Villa (2:12)
  11. Il Funerale Della Petri (2:12)
  12. La Signorina Andreani (piano solo) (1:56)

Running Time: 20:19

RTI/Made In Etaly (2008)

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