When we heard that CAM Sugar and Decca Records planned to release a double vinyl LP version of the original motion picture soundtrack to the 1976 Oscar-winning masterpiece, ‘Il Casanova’, it certainly got our attention. Not least because Nino Rota’s haunting, memorable score is glorious and deserves to be heard in full on wax, but also because the Fellini directed film is one that we released on DVD and Blue Ray ourselves in 2010. The film and score are part of the Mr Bongo story, so we’ll happily support another chance to celebrate it.
The film blends historical drama with romance and eroticism, ‘Il Casanova di Federico Fellini’ is the famed director’s own take on Histoire de ma vie, the autobiography of the 18th century Venetian icon. Fellini’s darkest film cracks through the myth of Casanova. As played by Donald Sutherland, the notorious womaniser is presented as a grotesque, pitiable, terrifying figure. Casanova craves respect as a scholar and yearns to pursue his interest in alchemy, but a sex scandal lands him in prison. Yet, an escape to Paris provides him a new lease of life but every Court in Europe and its attendant patrons and hostesses will only entertain him if he lives up to his sexual reputation.
The movie, which had a rumoured production cost of over 9 million Dollars, was an outstanding success, which bagged many awards including: an Oscar for Best Costumes to Danilo Donati in 1977 as well as three Nastro d’Argento (Best Set Design, Best Photography, Best Costumes), two British Academy Film Awards (Best Set Design, Best Costumes) and a David di Donatello to Nino Rota for the Best Soundtrack.
The compositions are constantly on the edge of classical and electronic music with playful nuances and the use of instruments like viola and cello. Vocals become a cornerstone, echoing the tradition of 18th century Italian opera. However, Rota also leaves room for more experimental, psychedelic and estranging vibes that make the soundtrack a one-of-a-kind voyage into the creativity of the Maestro.
The CAM release is a 2LP, first time ever on gatefold vinyl affair, and includes fourteen tracks previously unreleased on vinyl. We’ve been very impressed with the label’s approach to reissues - they look and sound beautiful. A high-level of care and attention has been put into the release and that is the type of treatment a soundtrack such as this deserves. Hats off to CAM, the go to label for Italian original soundtracks.