VISO D’ANGELO – Paolo Vivaldi

Original Review by Alan Rogers

Viso D’Angelo (Angel Face) is a four-part police thriller mini-series that aired on Italian TV at the end of October 2011. In it the police are on the hunt for a serial killer who leaves a rosary in the hands of their victims. The investigation leads police to go undercover, infiltrating the church-led community of Santa Lucia. TV movie-veteran composer Paolo Vivaldi (Don Zeno, La Baronessa di Carini, Exodus) composes the score for this police drama and digital label RTI/Made In Etaly has issued a 15-minute digital release that provides enough evidence to suggest that Vivaldi has once again provided a score worth tracking down.

The album begins with “Viso D’Angelo” which (I assume) is the main theme for the mini-series. A wordless female vocal statement of the theme before there’s a dramatic and full and orchestral statement of the theme (a theme reminiscent of a similar female vocal element that John Ottman used in his score for Hide and Seek). Played predominantly on strings, Vivaldi’s theme is full of pace and urgency before once again settling down to a restatement of the theme by wordless vocals but this time with the added accompaniment of an organ suggesting a link in the story with the church. Vivaldi’s suggestion of the church’s involvement is carried over to the second track, “Il Dolore Di Angela”, where we hear a string passage that has a distinctly religious feel to it. This leads into a couple of beautiful melodies played on solo strings. “Il Dolore Di Angela” has a montage feel about it as there are several ideas heard in this track: after the two solo string segments there are a couple of other musical ideas referenced. But they all fit together nicely into a beautiful but ultimately sad track that culminates in a bold statement of one of the themes heard at the beginning of the cue. The feeling of sadness is maintained in “L’Ultimo Saluto Di Angela” (but on this occasion using strings and piano). A quick-paced action cue, “Inseguimento Di Rubes”, splits these sombre tracks disrupting somewhat the mood set up by the first two tracks and as the album only runs to less than 15-minutes in length, there’s not much time for the mood to be re-established before the final track comes around and the album draws to a close. 

The album ends with “Misteri Nella Chiesa”. Google translates this as “Mysteries In The Church” and if Vivaldi’s music signposts accurately the feel of the church then the investigators are in for a bit of a rough time. The first half of the track features long, sustained strings and horns with the horns in particular reminding me of Elliot Goldenthal’s excellent creepy ambience music for Alien³. And then, juxtaposed with this there then appears a nursery rhyme-like verse voiced by a small female ensemble. As quickly as it arrives it is gone and the track (and album) then ends eerily with a restatement of the verse. Vivaldi’s score for Viso D’Angelo is presented as a 15-minute “taster” album (I assume there is a lot more music for 4 episodes of TV mini-series) and this presentation highlights one of the strengths of releasing music in a digital form; namely, that a brief selection of music can be made available so that listeners can hear major themes and ideas of a composer’s score without the need to pad out any release to 30-70 minute CD lengths. The music for Viso D’Angelo is not ground-breaking or earth-shattering but it’s nice to be able to hear a small selection of cues from Vivaldi’s score and hearing them does nothing to diminish my feeling that any new Paolo Vivaldi release is worth investigating. Viso D’Angelo is available at several of the major online digital stores.

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

  1. Viso D’Angelo (2:24)
  2. Il Dolore Di Angela (3:52)
  3. Inseguimento Di Rubes (2:22)
  4. L’Ultimo Saluto Di Angela (1:18)
  5. Misteri Nella Chiesa (3:29)

Running Time: 13:27

RTI / Made In Etaly (2011)


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