Ooo! More music!
CD: Adolescenza perversa / Adolescence pervertie (1974)
Review Rating:   Excellent  
Fin de Siecle Media (Sweden)
Catalog #:
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January 24, 2007

Tracks / Album Length:

24 tracks / (66:17)


Composer: Franco Micalizzi

Special Notes:

Foldout digipack
Comments :    

Making its commercial debut after 34 year absence, Franco Micalizzi's score for Adolescenza perversa / Adolescence pervertie (1974) is a marked surprise from his largely repetitive soundtracks that have popped up lately on CD. The lack of variety among themes and arrangements is the fault of producers and directors whose filmic vision or demands for score are too facile, and it's surprising that Micalizzi's music for this long-forgotten ‘erotic drama' by future porn director José Bénazéraf (which starred Hatchet for a Honeymoon's Dagmar Lassander) contains such a rich variety of material with slick, glossy arrangements, and engaging jazz improv.

It's still a part pop-lounge concoction, but Micalizzi's writing is very strong in conveying moods of joy, jealousy, breezy freedom, naiveté, and carnal sleaze without actually groveling in tones and grooves typical of adult films.

The lofty, French-styled Track 13 (few cues actually have names) is very compassionate, with soothing statements from harpsichord and accordion, with gentle strings, and a lightly strummed guitar, whereas Track 14 offers a quasi-Renaissance theme with an earnest, steady bass line, lilting strings, and quick finale with a warm resolution. There's a passing stylistic similarity to Georges Delerue's own brand of melody and tenderness, but it's one of several diverse moods that make this album so satisfying.

A complete contrast to the surrounding cues is Track 15, consisting of discordant, sustained strings and echo-processed string plucks, something typical of a giallo wherein some leggy babe is about to lose her head. Track 20 adds a drum beat and bass groove, but like the former, the cue doesn't really develop beyond a short atmospheric statement. The liner notes provide a brief, promo-styled summary of the film, but as is often the case, the lack of a comparison with the actual film makes it tough to imagine where such a harsh cue would fit into a tale of a professor who sleeps with her male student, experiences bouts of jealousy, and a dose of lesbianism.

Experienced composers scored countless genre films in Italy, so it's unsurprising to hear the ubiquitous Edda Dell'Orso's voice on select cues, including Micalizzi's marvelous main theme – a perfect creation with lilting 3/3 beat that corkscrews itself into the brain, and starts replaying itself hours after you've turned off the stereo.

Micalizzi's tonal structure – the sparse melancholic notes that hang in the air before tilting towards something vaguely tragic – evokes Ennio Morricone's own brand of bittersweet sadness, but unlike his more prolific colleague, Micalizzi's cues are quite direct in their dramatic hits, with less experimental ornamentation or long stretches of repeated phrases building towards a large, emotional statement.

The sole weak cue in the score, Track 8, is also the only mono cut on the album. Using strings, light drums, piano, oboe, and organ, it's sappy, dreary piece, and feels like a disposable source cue meant to play from a tinny AM radio. A total opposite is the groovy Track 9, with heavy electric bass, long swathes of organ, additional keyboards, and electric guitar. Basically a short phrase on bass repeated to the cue's end, Micalizzi uses the structure to apply decent improvs on keyboards and guitar, and it's a better evocation of the film's exploitive and hot and bothered elements.

Fin de Siecle's mastering is first-rate, and the cue order provides some good thematic variation, with a long upbeat version of the main theme closing the album. The best cuts are those with Dell'Orso's marvelous voice, but they're well-balanced by some fine secondary themes and variations on this standout CD.


© 2008 Mark R. Hasan

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