Le meraviglie di Aladino
Maravilhas de Aladin (Brazil)
Aladdin - Abenteuer in der Wüste (Germany) (DVD title)
Les mille et une nuits (France)
Le meraviglie di Aladino (Italy)
The Wonders of Aladdin (USA)
Aladins Abenteuer (West Germany)
Alhambra Records is proud to present on this CD the world premiere release in stereo of Angelo Francesco Lavagnino's complete original score for the 1961 Arabian Nights fantasy movie THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (Italian title: LE MERAVIGLIE DI ALADINO) which gives further proof of the enormous versatilty of the Italian composer. The movie is a delightful spectacle which takes some liberties with the famous 1001 Arabian Nights tale about the boy Aladdin and doesn't take itself too seriously so that it is often more a slapstick comedy than an exciting adventure movie. It was co-directed by Henry Levin – who acted as a supervisor – and by Mario Bava whose typical visual style shines through in scene after scene. US actor and dancer Donald O'Connor, who had starred in several major musical films during the 1950s, was cast as Aladdin and he lends an irrepressible energy and a youthful charm to the character, whereas among the supporting cast we find such famous names as Terence Hill (here still under his real name Mario Girotti) who plays Prince Moluk, Michèle Mercier (as his beloved Princess Zaina) and Vittorio De Sica (as the genie).
In 1961 Lavagnino was one of the busiest film composers in Italy with a prodigious output of more than a dozen scores for a variety of genres. Despite this frenetic activity and the short time span he was given for the completion of each score, his melodic inspiration and inventiveness almost never ceased. A case in point is THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN which even today sounds as fresh and infectious as ever. One of the strong points of Lavagnino's style has always been his special flair for exotic music, for exciting rhythms and for splashes of local colour which is just what was needed for this kind of picture. The title sequence immediately sets the mood and atmosphere for a colourful fairy-tale fantasy with its enchanting and charming oriental dance which resembles a kind of playful ballet and in fact describes the mechanical movements of a dancing doll. Equally attractive is the festive exotic march which Lavagnino has composed for the procession sequence at the beginning of the movie. Often it is also the task of the burlesque music to keep the picture in motion and to even speed up the tempo of the visuals.
One of the highlights of the score is of course the luxuriant love theme for Princess Zaina which has all the typical imprints of Lavagnino's romantic style and is scored for sensual high strings with harp accompaniment. Besides those thematic ideas the score also offers an almost nostalgic accordion melody as a witty musical contrast to the man-killing Amazon huntresses, mysterious flute, harp and vibraphone music for the magician's experiments in the subterranean caves and robust dramatic music for the action scenes.
We hope that many fans of the composer and of classic Italian film music will enjoy this spirited fantasy score with its quite peculiar exotic and magic flair. This exciting CD project – the ninth CD in our Lavagnino series – has only been possible thanks to the generous support of the three daughters of the composer – Bianca, Iudica and Alessandra Lavagnino -, who still had open reel tape copies of the original master tapes in their personal archive which we were allowed to use. Our CD edition which contains a 12-page booklet with extensive liner notes and numerous colour stills from the movie as well as a rare original letter by Miklós Rózsa (in which he expresses his admiration for Lavagnino) will be limited to 400 copies.
- Alhambra Records