Film scores

Soundtrack review: Canterbury N2 (Guido and Maurizio de Angelis – 1973)

“Canterbury N.2 (Nuove Storie D’Amore Del ‘300)” is a 1973 movie which imagines the famous writer of “The Canterbury Tales”, Geoffrey Chaucer, stuck in a far away in because of bad weather. Along with other pilgrims who were going to Canterbury they kill time by telling stories of a very specific kind. As part of their wonderful “Gold Collection”, Kronos Records releases this score for the first time ever. It was written by the duo of Guido and Maurizio De Angelis and I must admit I wasn’t familiar with their music. I am sure I’ve heard it countless times as they are the ones who scored a lot of the Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies, but I don’t remember much.

So let’s imagine we are in England many hundreds of years ago, in a dark and misty area and we are stuck in an isolated in because of the terrible storm outside. There are all those noises and there’s not a lot of light and everyone decides to tell their scariest and more intense stories… Are you with me? We begin with an ominous but beautiful organ motif that marks the beginning of this long night. A melodic medieval chant follows and we know what we are in for. The composer then sets the theme for the darkness that surrounds us. Be careful because it sounds very appealing and you might get drawn to it. Yes we are in the middle of a lovely vision right now. You didn’t; expect the first story to be of love, did you? And yet “Amore” and “Pace” enchant us and make us feel like we are in an entirely different place. We are in the good medieval place where people are dancing joyfully on sounds of flutes.

Guido and Maurizio are laughing at me and ruining my horror story night. The music is jolly and playful. That flute is just dispersing the darkness and I feel I’m in the middle of a meadow on the prettiest summer day of the year. Yeah I should have known these tricksters would make everyone smile and laugh, I mean they did write all those Bud Spencer and Terence Hill scores. Is everybody dreaming by now? Good, good….

….because darkness and haunting voices return midway through the score. There are three more “Oscurita” themes that change the mood from lovely medieval ballads to something way scarier. There are strange sounds in these themes, almost sounding like babies crying and suddenly that shiny meadow has turned into a dark crypt and we are not alone in there. It doesn’t last though… the peace returns and this wonderful score continues dancing with both sides in an exciting and never boring composition.

Time for comedy then… the enchanting and the dark step aside and let the fun in. The “Allegro” themes will make you feel like kids again with their trombone and light guitars and harp and flute and butterflies. I’m sure there are butterflies in there. And candies as well.

These are stories that Guido and Maurizio de Angelis tell us in “Canterbury No2”. Do yourselves a favor and get this gem. It will be by your side in many different moments and if nothing else it will put a smile on your faces whenever you might need it.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 23 / 40

Album excellence: 57%

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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