Presentation notes for the CD Echoes from Earth edited by Aldo Tramma
“Claudio Cimpanelli is a composer of great limpidity. He employs an essential, evocative, rarefied style. In Echoes from Earth, with his compositional expertise, combined with formal rigour and creative freedom, he transmits to the listener, in a singular manner, a profoundly fascinating type of enchantment. With conscious mastery he alternates evanescent sonorities with moments of great intensity and violence.”
Presentation notes for the CD Echoes from Earth edited by Alberto Barbadoro
(M° Aldo Tramma, soloist – Professor of piano at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, Rome.
“This CD entitled Echoes from Earth consists of some of the compositions realised by Claudio Cimpanelli between 1993 and 2004.
Review by Massimo Privitera of Un inverno freddo freddo in Colonne Sonore
Two of these pieces originated long before, back in the seventies, but were only completed successively.
I had already had the opportunity of listening to some of his earlier works such as, for example, his Concerto Argentino, for cello and orchestra, La città proibita, for strings, Roots, for piano and Hermes, for trumpet and orchestra.
In the pieces present on this disc, as in others, I can perceive the evident testimony of an authentic originality of poetic expression and of a solid intellectual linearity.
Varieties of expression, a multitude of languages and compositional techniques; instrumental arrangements, forms and combinations of timbres: all of which elements, as well as evidencing Cimpanelli’s mastery in his use of sound, spring from a multilingualism, marked by a simplicity of expression that is encountered but rarely. This is, however, only an apparent simplicity!
I don’t remember, in fact, if Ennio Flaiano and Leo Longanesi ever “apologised” for writing too long an article, not “having the time” to write a shorter one! The natural gift of succinctness is not a common one but Cimpanelli possesses it to the highest degree.
An apparent simplicity and the gift of terseness are distinguishing features of the music of this composer, who uses a language which is constantly renewed and invented from piece to piece, without ever becoming eclectic, on the contrary it is always subservient to its expressive needs.
In fact in the twelve pieces which constitute Echoes from Earth Cimpanelli succeeds perfectly in capturing the imagination of the listener and in conveying their intimate and individual significance, thanks to his refined psychological understanding of them.
In the case of Cimpanelli I am tempted to reuse the term Expressionism, but historical deference on the one hand and a fear of generating stylistic misinterpretation on the other, lead me to avoid it, as I also prefer not to resort to the simplistic term Neo-expressionism. It would therefore maybe be more appropriate to talk of “colloquialism”, in view of the extraordinary sense of immediate involvement which this musician possesses in his manner of recounting a story and himself, always finding the right “word”, sometimes whispered and sometimes declaimed, thereby rendering the listener a ready “accomplice” and fellow traveller.
We also consider Cimpanelli, however, as a composer who is a creator of limpid sonorities and musical pages which are often of a strongly evocative and epic nature. One only has to think of his moving Pater noster with its archaic atmosphere, or the timelessness, sometimes serene and sometimes agitated, of Echoes from Earth or some moments from Di materno amore in order to feel immersed in an almost metaphysical fresco of sound where the essence of the whole is not finite but rather the eternity of a longed for order.”
M° Alberto Barbadoro - Professor of score reading at the Conservatorio G.Rossini di Pesaro. Artistic Director of the Association “Guido Micheli”- Amici della Musica di Ancona.
“Some years ago a famous conductor, who had been an assistant to Leonard Bernstein, happened by chance to hear M° Claudio Cimpanelli playing on the piano on stage the notes of the principal theme tune written by him in 1996 for the film Un inverno freddo freddo. At the end of the performance the conductor started cheering loudly from the darkness at the back of the stalls and to express all his enthusiasm and ecstasy for the performance and the beauty of that leitmotive; the motive is notable for its strong expressive intensity and compositional and technical mastery. Therefore, speaking of a noteworthy work by an Italian composer who we had already met (see interview), and who we admire, and always being on the look-out for noteworthy old and new OST (Original Sound Tracks), we felt compelled to introduce this close examination of this score of Cimpanelli’s with the above anecdote in order to comprehend fully its worth. Having said that, if you do manage to dig out this score don’t let the opportunity slip: listen to it carefully and calmly and let yourself be transported by its notes which, as the composer himself calls them, are “poor, but full of so many musical and instrumental solutions that the very poverty of resources can make them give forth their fruit and help sharpen the invention.
Review by Massimo Privitera of Baciami piccina in Colonne sonore
Un inverno freddo freddo (Nastro Argento, Silver Ribbon, for the director, who was also nominated for the David di Donatello award), an amusing and well performed comedy which, as well as having a fine cast and perceptive direction derives from its soundtrack, with its intense and evocative note (never was a word more apt!), enormous support which insinuates itself perfectly in between the brilliant lines and playful images. Cimpanelli creates two fundamental leitmotives, plus innumerable thematic digressions, which come to life even more in the CD, given that in the film there is little music but only just what is right. The album’s 18 pieces are a journey accompanied by admirable and virtuoso performances by the musicians, just to mention the most noted ones: the famous guitarist Fausto Melosella (Avion Travel), the clarinettist Paolo Marchettini (currently professor at the prestigious Manhattan School of New York), Nello Salza on the flugelhorn. On the CD Cimpanelli plays the trumpet, piano and flugelhorn as well as conducting the Orchestra Philarmonia of Rome.
The soundtrack opens with A cold cold winter (Winter song) (not used in the film) for clarinet soloist, in which the representative and melancholic main theme tune, reminiscent of Morricone, supported by piano, flute, violin and flugelhorn: an enchantingly beautiful motive which will make you want to stand up and applaud!
The successive Anger and tears on the atmospheric canvas of the synth with a caressing guitar which plays the main part and announces the second sweetly romantic theme tune, and is represented in the consecutive Stravinsky-like chamber version which is not used in the film.
The orchestra leads us smoothly to safe havens in which to land playing the principal theme tune of A cold cold winter -for orchestra), its piano ending reminding us of the best Stelvio Cipriani. Classic jazz like Piero Umiliani in Leather jacket blues in which alto sax,percussion, bass, piano and flugelhorn excel in their counterpoint.
Somewhere somewhere is one of the really heartrending pieces, marvellous soft jazz dedicated to the extraordinary Chet Baker (and we can hear it!) for flugelhorn,piano and a virtuoso accompaniment: if, like me, you adore Jerry Goldsmith’s love theme in Chinatown then you can’t help but love this tune!
A dance inspired by the popular Italic tradition helps us celebrate New Year in Dance for New Year’s Eve. Initially A cold cold winter comes to the fore but then it gives way to the solo acoustic guitar.
A cold cold winter (Recollection, colours and serenade) makes space for a very emotional violin solo, first of all on its own, then aided by the piano which plays the theme sublimely, until it is echoed by the solo trumpet reaching emotive heights that only Joe Hisaishi’s leitmotives for Miyasaki’s Cinema manage to attain.
A cold cold winter (Amber embers) is inwardly tormented with its marked hints of jazz.
The long Tic toc blues is a typical Italian ballroom dance.
A cold cold winter (Tune for Guya) has a main theme tune using tango harmonies which all of a sudden become a jingle and burlesque with its piano protagonist (we seem to see Amélie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet).
A cold cold winter (Monica’s father) for guitar and piano caress us fondly while A cold cold winter (Winter song- for trumpet) (not used in the film) assumes a tenderly jauntish and circus-like character, with just a touch of suave harmonic grace on which Hisaishi would complement Cimpanelli!
Anger and tears – for clarinet on a backcloth of synthesiser and clarinet can only make us admire even more both the second motive and the other side of the same coin which the main theme tune contains: both of them nurture a feeling of love and solidarity in a prevalently feminine story.
The penultimate piece in the CD, Nostalgia (dedicated to Astor Piazzola) for piano and clarinet soloists is a tango burning with passion but with a hint of melancholy, accentuated when the solo violin ( Shalom Budeer) joins in with a counter-melody- incredibly beautiful!
The finale is rightly entrusted to the orchestra which performs the main theme tune(A cold cold winter-End titles) in all its romantic delicacy and loving melancholy, the apotheosis in sound of a stupendously moving and absolutely enchanting OST. Don’t miss it!
Claudio Cimpanelli- the composer of some beautiful soundtracks, among which those for the film by Paolo Virzi, La bella vita comments with precise feeling this sweet sour comedy, set in the second world war, with the protagonists Neri Marcoré and Vincenzo Salemme. In this, his second collaboration with the director of Un inverno freddo freddo,the composer writes a variety of theme tunes ranging from the joyous to the dramatic, in consonance with the unpredictable developments of the plot narrated in the film.
In the first light-hearted and farcical category belong Rumba di viaggio ( a breezy and tender dance tune which is repeated, with variations, throughout the CD), La Topolino rubata and Fuga del commendatore (in Cimpanelli’s self-confessed homage to the great Nino Rota) and Polka dell’armistizio (Armistice polka) (a popular, festive melody); in the second more melancholy and sombre category belong the tracks Compagni di viaggio (end credits) (a melody brimming over with loving sadness), La lettera di Nerina (a poignant setting for guitar, mandolin, accordion and clarinet) and its lyrically tormented variation Addio, Valzer di guerra) (Goodbye, War waltz) (opening credits) (a nostalgic popular dance tune for accordion, guitar and mandolin), Muri di libertà (Walls of liberty) (a theme tune which the composer himself relates to the tragedy of war) and on all the pieces which comment on the tragic nature of the events where the orchestra comes into its own:SS perseguono partigiani sul Pò (the SS pursuing partisans on the Po), Uccisione di un SS (Murder of an SS), Fucilazione di Nuvolini (Death by firing squad at Nuvolini) with the soprano Danielle Streiff who transfigures the piece and turns it into pure opera.
The notes by the composer are of great interest. A soundtrack from bygone times in terms of its poetic beauty.
Review by Helmut Laberer for Un inverno freddo freddo from Il mondo della Musica, Rome.
“This CD’s music is, above all, evocative. As I said in 1994, when reviewing his soundtrack for another film (La bella vita) the music of Claudio Cimpanelli reveals a true and genuine, innate stylistic talent. In this film too his melodies touch the listener’s heart directly.”
Review by Kay McCarthy- Irish folk singer- on RCA and FONIT – international labels.
“The intensity of the main theme tune of Un inverno freddo freddo and the immediacy of its blues melodies, waltzes and polkas are the convincing fellow components of a tender, ironic, particular and authentic film.”
Eliseo Sordoni about Claudio Cimpanelli ‘s music…
“I find that the compositions of Claudio Cimpanelli possess their very own unmistakeable trademark, which is not easily erased from one’s memory. They have an enthralling conversational nature which is realised using a refined range of timbres, an important contrapuntal mesh and highly individual melodic and harmonic processes. I was able to note these qualities not just in “A secret tale”, for wind quintet- performed at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in 1994-and in “Rem”, for solo bassoon, but also in the music composed for the films: La bella vita and Amici all’Italiana, works which display, respectively, a poignant symphonic nature and a playful sense of irony in the jazz milieu which lies at the heart of “Giasscritto”, of which he is the founder and conductor, and with which we have shared some magnificent moments.”
Review by Melisenda81 of Baciami piccina – 20/04/2007
(Prof. Eliseo Smordoni, First bassoon of the orchestra of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma- soloist).
“…il tutto è accompagnato dalle piacevoli note della musica di Claudio Cimpanelli. Struggente il tema principale del film, “La lettera di Nerina” dove il compositore, servendosi di “un’orchestra” di soli fiati, chitarre e violini, descrive perfettamente la malinconia che accomuna le anime tristi e rassegnate dei tre protagonisti e che ricorda l’atmosfera che si respirava in Italia durante la guerra.”
Review by Janus from UnderScores
“…Il m’ a fallu pour me ressaisir, une partition plus douce, plus sucrée,signée Claudio Cimpanelli: Un inverno freddo freddo.Que la musique est belle!”
Review by Mattia Allegrucci for La bella vita From Paper Blog- Magazine cinema 14/03/2013
“Excellent music by Claudio Cimpanelli”