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Marco Werba: The Island of Forgiveness - recording sessions

Marco Werba: The Island of Forgiveness - English film poster The Cairo Film Festival was launched in 1979, and the 2022 event held from 13th to 22nd November will include among its guests Marco Werba, the award-winning composer. He composed the soundtrack for the feature drama "L'Ile du Pardon" ("The Island of Forgiveness") which will receive its première as part of the festival. "L'Ile du Pardon" was directed by Ridha Behi, produced by Ziad Hamzeh, Nicole Kamato and Ridha Behi, and stars Claudia Cardinale, Paola Lavini and Katia Greco. The Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the World, contributing to the development of the art and technique of cinema and encouraging intercultural dialogue. This year there will be a substantial European presence, with a total of 9 European productions in contention for awards, including "L'Ile du Pardon". In this article we look in more depth at the Recording Sessions for Marco Werba's music for the film.

Composer Marco Werba with FantaFestival Award Marco Werba was born in Madrid, and classically trained having studied music in France, the United States and in Italy, and he now lives in Rome. He has scored at least 40 films to date, many in Italian but many also released worldwide with subtitles or dubbed into different languages. His composer credits include Zoo, Anita, Giallo (which we reviewed on mfiles), Amore e Libertà, Masaniello, Native (the score won the Italian Golden Globes), Seguimi, Inane, Il Delitto Mattarella, Pop Black Posta and La Grande Guerra del Salento. "L'Ile du Pardon" is his latest, and Werba's score has already won the "Colosseo d'Oro". For the film's score, the director Ridha Behi was clear that he didn't want the music to reflect the Tunisian setting. Instead the music should concentrate on the film's drama and the emotional journey experienced by the protagonists, their humanity and the search for redemption and forgiveness.

With this brief, Werba set to work and composed the score. The plot centres on Andrea Licari who is a Tunisian of Italian descent. He has become an accomplished and respected author and professor. But at the age of 60 he faces challenging times.

Marco Werba conducting the English Session Orchestra - Studio Photo 1

The film's music was recorded at Angel Studios in Islington, which is now part of the Abbey Road Studios family in London. The recording sessions were organised by Jojo Arvanitis as Orchestra contractor, and Dom Domalos Kelly as Score coordinator, and the music was played by the "English Session Orchestra" conducted by the composer himself. Here is a preview of the track "The Waltz" on Marco Werba's YouTube Channel.

Marco Werba conducting the English Session Orchestra - Studio Photo 2

The score is mostly centred on orchestral strings, though this core section is at times augmented by a few other instruments. For example you can hear a guitar played by Riccardo Rocchi on the track "L'Enterrement" (The Burial). Here is a preview of "The Burial" on Marco Werba's YouTube Channel.

Marco Werba conducting the English Session Orchestra - Studio Photo 3

Werba also wrote the movie's title song "Rosa's Song" which was then performed and recorded by Ellen Williams, the famous Welsh soprano, who also wrote the English lyrics. The song's main theme is used elsewhere the score. Music publisher Kevin Ferri (of the Soul Trade Music Publishing Group) will release the official CD of the film score, and it's easy to think that "Rosa's Song" might be a candidate for a single release. You can view part of the song's recording session on Ellen Williams' YouTube Channel and here is a photo of Marco Werba with Ellen Williams at the recording studios:

Marco Werba and Ellen Williams - photo by Massimo Privitera

Photos and Videos: Massimo Privitera

Text: Jim Paterson