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What Have You Done With Solange Ennio Morricone Main

What Have You Done to Solange? Album Review

Written by Richie Corelli

Released by Music On Vinyl

what have you done with solange ennio morricone poster large

Composed by Ennio Morricone
1972
Released on February 12th, 2021

Review:

Ennio Morricone died on July 6th, 2020. In memoriam of the maestro, I’ve written reviews on four of his horror scores (I malamondo, What Have You Done to Solange?, Exorcist II: The Heretic, and The Thing, respectively). It’s a minuscule look at a mountainous career; a sliver of sound to represent Morricone and his expertise as a master horror-composer.

It’s hard to know what to cover with Ennio Morricone. The maestro wrote over 600 compositions in his +70 year career. But for horror fans, the 1972 giallo-favorite, What Have You Done to Solange?, is something that needs to be considered.

Enrico, a high school gym teacher who is trying to pressure one of his students into sex, is a deplorable human being. It’s disgusting. He’s cocky. He’s deceitful. But he’s not a killer. What Have You Done to Solange? traces him back to the scene of a homicide and follows him as he sets out to prove his innocence. Massimo Dallamano’s 1972 film is a psychosexual murder mystery that is praised for its taut suspense, perverse eroticism, and outstanding musical score.

Ennio Morricone has waved his baton to soundtrack a number of gialli. It was his compositions that helped establish the mood for classics like Cat O’ Nine Tails, Short Night of the Glass Dolls, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, Lizard in a Woman’s Skin and Autopsy. They’re all worth checking out. But What Have You Done to Solange? might be his best.

The main theme and title track, “Cosa avete fatto a Solange?,” ranks among the finest songs in gialli. The track launches with a sad and sweet piano melody. Restrained barbs of strings poke through the warm, tranquil atmosphere. The strings aren’t invasive, but they add a sense of unease. When vocalist Edda Dell’Orso slides into the mix, the track changes form. Her wordless voice is an instrument in itself, ohhing and ahhing with the timbre of a theremin, but with an added sense of human emotion. With Dell’Orso in the lead, the track grows and builds and finally climaxes and downshifts. Beautiful.

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If the opener brings warmth The second track, “Raccapriccio,” brings in the horror. Strings swarm and shriek, a sloppy bass staggers, brass instrumentation chirps and squeals. The noisy experimentalism of the second track pokes holes in the beauty laid down by the first. “Anche un quartetto per lei,” shifts back to tranquility. It’s a sleepy, romantic track, thick with elegant, layered strings. The frequent stop-gaps in this song, expertly performed by Morricone’s ensemble, feel peaceful, like nodding off on the beach. “Una tromba e la sua notte,” with its chirping trumpet and disruptive spikes of piano and noise, counters with discord and ugliness. “Altre cadenze“ takes a different route. It corresponds to a scene in the film that is shot in a church and, as such, sounds almost like something one would hear during a Catholic ceremony. The song is sad and serene. “Ostinazione al limone” sounds like a ‘60s spy film with its mischievous strutting bass line and scratchy sly beats. “Fragile orgabetto” rolls like an unbalanced circus song. (And circus music is always scary.) But it’s “Aleatorio secondo” that might be the most frightening song on the album. Organ keys casually climb atop one another and pianos pounce while other instruments haunt from beyond.

The record ends with “Fine de Solange,” a laid-back tune with a climbing melody. It’s a good song, but it doesn’t have a sense of finality. This is not how the film ends. In the movie, the closing song is a short reprisal of the opening theme, which is more appropriate and more effective. Still, this is a minor quibble for an otherwise stellar record.

The packaging is slightly less forgivable. Music On Vinyl limited this reissue to 1000 individually numbered copies. It’s a 180 gram “flaming” colored yellow vinyl LP. It’s a nice-[sounding record, but the casing lacks. The album is housed in a no-frills, one-sleeve, with no gatefold. There are no liner notes. And the entire thing is packaged in a high-gloss heavy plastic wrap that immediately invites fingerprints.

The art on the cover is a recreation of one of the movie’s original posters. The primary focus features a partial illustration of a woman’s face, her mouth taped shut and her eyes wide with panic. The image fans out and reproduces in a quarter circle as a repeated pattern with a yellow to red gradient. It cuts the visual space into two parts, diving and the upper left portion of the cover, and the bottom right. The space in the upper left is where the title is positioned. The bottom right features another illustration – an image of a frightened woman as she is stalked by a shadowy figure behind her. While new art for this new reissue might seem like a missed opportunity, the classic pulp art is fun. It’s cheesy in the best way; an over-the-top creation of drama and mystique, an image ideal for gialli.

While the packaging and artwork add to the overall experience, the music will always be paramount. And the music here is excellent. It’s classic Morricone. He used similar approaches for similar movies, but the maestro is at his giallo best on this record. The melancholy and dread of the opener; Edda Dell’Orso’s gorgeous accompaniment; the tracks that sleep in a haze of soft balladry; the songs that hiss through the speakers with hard dissonance; the intermittent moments of jittery, avant-garde jazz; the quirky confrontational pieces; and the peppering of memorable melodies make this score an affair that can be challenging while still being accessible. Even with the phone-it-in packaging; even with the recycled artwork; even with the absence of liner notes; What Have You Done to Solange? is a must-have.

Grades:

Music: Fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Cover
Buy Amazon Uk
Art: Threeandahalfstars
Physical Quality: Threestars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
Richie Corelli
Staff Reviewer - USA
Richie isn’t ignoring you. He just can’t hear you over the music. He’s been plugged in to his headphones for decades, diving into the zine culture of the 90s, blogging relentlessly through the 00s and beyond. He knows more about certain bands than he knows about himself. His love of music is rivaled only by his love of horror. If it’s creepy and spooky, he’s into it.

Horror DNA sutures his two passions together, giving him a platform to analyze and express his feelings on horror scores, soundtracks and live performances. It’s a celebration of all that goes bump in the night.
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