Quartet Records presents a new, remastered edition of two Ennio Morricone scores from 1969/1970, written for movies featuring strong female protagonists.
Directed by Eriprando Visconti, La monaca di Monza (1969) is widely credited as one of the cornerstones of the nunsploitation subgenre which bloomed in the 1970s. Based on a true story about Sister Virginia de Leyva, the film is about a nun who starts a forbidden romance with an Italian nobleman. Set in the tumultuous 17th century, the film features a brief but passionate Morricone score, highlighted by a tragic romantic theme, a lovely pastoral theme for the couple’s child and Baroque-flavored action cues for the Spanish pursuers.
Made a year later, Alberto Bevilacqua’s La califfa (1970) stars Romy Schneider and Ugo Tognazzi in a forbidden romance with a more contemporary setting. Based on the director’s own novel, the story follows the romance of an industrialist and the widow of a worker who used to work in his factory. As the affair slowly transforms the ruthless capitalist, his own kind decides it’s time to step in and abort his reforms before it’s too late. Morricone’s thematically rich score features his favorite musical collaborators (Edda dell’Orso, Alessandro Alessandroni and I Cantori Moderni) for an emotional rollercoaster that’s much better-known than the film it’s attached to.
The program for La monaca di Monza, probably one of the shortest scores composed by Morricone, expands by seven minutes (including a beautiful choral piece) the previous release by Point Records, issued in the early nineties and now hard-to-find. The program for La califfa is the same as the expensive and now out-of-print Japanese import CD by Verita Note, but with a new mastering by Claudio Fuiano and Dániel Winkler which eliminates some drop-outs and corrects the switched stereo channels from previous editions.
The 20-page full-color booklet features many illustrations and a detailed discussion of both scores by Gergely Hubai, who also provides track-by-track analyses for these masterful works.