You get the sense that French composer Patrice Sciortino was a little too close to genius to be successful in the kind of way that Ennio Morrcione or Bernard Herrman were able to generate popular acclaim from their at times quite challenging compositional works. The problem is that Sciortino’s work is actually too challenging and restless, refusing to reference the work of others, or at the very least stick to one or two or three ideas within a piece. At the very least he could be repetitive, but no, it’s all about new terrain for Sciortino.
You can hear everything in his music, all kinds of genres and approaches, often playing against each other within the same track, and it’s truly mind blowing. One composer shouldn’t have this much the dexterity. It’s truly a singular vision. Yet that vision is of everything.
He briefly studied at Pierre Schaeffer’s GRM and has composed for stage, tv, ballet, choirs and of course library music. It’s in this realm that he is best known. Originally released in 1970 on the PSI label, the breadth of the music is spectacular, simultaneously mischievous and avant garde, hardly the sort of music any television producer would be picking up for their show. The strings, often near hysterical, and galloping percussion are mainstays, though he also uses piano, vibes and voice to great effect.
Omni of course aren’t content to simply rerelease the LP, they’ve included three different 10inch recordings from the prestigious Musique Pour L’Image library label, bumping it up to 36 tracks. At times it feels like cartoon music, such is the speed, humour and movement in his compositions, yet when combined with the strings and elements of 20th century music it becomes a very strange, quite challenging brew.
You might not have heard of Patrice Sciortino, yet that is clearly not a reflection upon the quality of his music. Music this good deserves to be heard.
Bob Baker Fish