“Imputazione di un omicidio per un studente” or “Chronicles of a homicide” is a 1972 Italian drama. It is one of the more obscure movies Ennio Morricone has written the score for, but very much worth exploring.
I instantly recognize the maestro’s distinct and unique sound in “Citazione tematica”, the opening cue of the score. It has the perfect balance of drama and melody and it also has that unmistakable sadness that never fails in Morricone’s compositions. It’s the kind of cue that instantly gives me a good sensation. It’s the kind of light sadness you would feel if you were in the park one late summer day and you happened to catch the first gust of chilli wind announcing the coming autumn.
“Nel labirinto de la giustizia” uses the strings too but doesn’t rise above a simple suspense cue. It sounds more like a draft of a theme. “Carcere prima” expands on the suspense but also has a weird flickering sound in the background which I usually associate with the flying saucers in early science fiction movies. It’s another piece that sounds experimental to me, or anyway more raw than I was expecting.
But when Morricone adds just a bit more heart in a cue, those melodic strings sound wonderful. “Riflessioni angosciose” scratches the surface a little deeper and gets my attention. It amazes me what hidden gems I can find even in scores like this one. Morricone seems to have a way to make me step out of time and go to a place I know very well. This sound is like remembering my childhood lullabies. There’s something about the stroke of those strings that just hypnotizes me.
It’s back to experimental with “Commemorazione” which is part jazz, part tense but not very interesting to me. It seems that for every gem I find there’s an improvisation that doesn’t really work for me. The middle ground is represented by cues like the title track “Imputazione di omicidio per un studente” which is an alert and suspenseful composition. Suspense is the key word for “Un po per giorno” and “Requiem breve”. Morricone knows how to do suspense but I also hear again some weird sounds in the background that make these cues sound strange. The second part of “Un po per giorno” though, with the voices humming the tunes is just lovely. It has the melancholy of a summer sunset and also those sharp string stabs that will mark the future of Morricone’s career.
“Chronicles of a homicide” is a strange and uneven score. There’s experimental tracks I’m not to find of, there are suspense cues, there are lovely melodies and also some wonderful hints of melancholy. Quite a lot for a 25 minute score, it just goes to show the versatility of Ennio Morricone. It is not a score I will revisit but it was an interesting one time listen nonetheless.
Cue rating: 75 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 7 / 28
Album excellence: 25%
Un po’ per giorno (Orchestral Version II)