Stephen Warbeck,
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
(Universal Classics, 2001)

Stephen Warbeck composed beautiful music, worthy of an epic film, when he created the soundtrack for Captain Corelli's Mandolin. He has managed to seamlessly integrate original tracks with Italian music of the World War II era. Whether you have seen the movie or not, Warbeck will take you on an emotional journey of highs and lows, good times and bad. With little imagination, the music easily transports you to the Europe of almost 70 years ago.

The soundtrack for Captain Corelli's Mandolin easily stands on its own without the film. The reason for this is, perhaps, that the film was created around the music whereas in most films, the music seems to be added as an afterthought. To quote what the film's director, John Madden, said in the liner notes, "In more than one scene, each shot was geared to the music that now accompanies it. The music of this film is its heart and its story." It almost seems like the movie was created to complement the soundtrack -- not the other way around.

Most listeners will recognize the older songs. Surely you are familiar with "Santa Lucia." The solo vocals on this rendition were performed by Enrico Caruso. Also recognizable are "La Scala Songs" performed by La Scala Singers which includes Frederico Fioresi, Alessandro Stefanini, Francesco Guzzo, Germano Di Mattia, Simone Spinazze, Sergio Albelli, Davide Quatraro, Paco Reconti, Nuccio Siano and Salvatore Lazzaro. Together they perform "La Donna E' Mobile" and "Lilli Marlene." If the song titles do not sound familiar, go to for a quick sample and I'm sure a few notes will ring a bell.

My personal favorite tracks on the CD are some of the instrumental tracks. Giovanni Parricelli plays mandolin and Dario Rosetti-Bonell plays guitar. Tunes like "The Mandolin," "The Guitar" and "On the Jetty" might not have very imaginative titles, but the music more than makes up for that. These pieces are regrettably short, yet touch the soul in a way that sometimes only music can. These selections are further complemented by the work Rolf Wilson and his orchestra have done to flesh out much of the score.

One last artist I will mention on the soundtrack is Russell Watson. This English tenor performs on two tracks, "Senza di Te" and "Ricordo Ancor (Pelagia's Song)." If you like his voice, you might also want to check out his debut album The Voice.

Up to this point, I have failed to mention that Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a Nicholas Cage film. I was afraid that might deter some readers from checking out an excellent soundtrack. I normally associate Cage with action-hero type films so I was surprised that something as touching as the music on this CD might be linked to one of his movies. Regardless of your feelings towards the actor, I do not think that should stop you from giving this CD a listen. As I said in the beginning of my review, this soundtrack stands on its own.

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 23 March 2002

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