Enzo Masetti

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If Italian film music had its equivalent to Erich Wolfgang Korngold or Max Steiner, in terms of influence and talent, I would have to say that is was Maestro Enzo Masetti. This composer/arranger and conductor, was born on August 18th 1893 in the industrial town of Bologna in Italy. This was at a time when moving pictures were little more than a new creation and a new craze that was sweeping the world. Masetti displayed a natural aptitude for all things musical and enrolled at the Bologna music Conservatory. He graduated from there in 1920, at first the composer decided to dedicate himself to the composition of music for the concert hall, and penned various symphonic works and operas. Masetti set out to become part of the classical group of composers that would succeed Pietro Mascagni and Ottorino Respighi It was during the mid 1930,s that Masetti started to become interested in writing music for film. By this time filmmakers had woken up to the fact that music could play a very important role within the film industry, and to have a good score was vital to the success of a movie. Masetti, became the natural choice for many filmmakers, his classical training and also his discipline as a composer of symphonic works stood him in good stead with many film producers and directors. The composers first assignment as a writer of film music came in 1936 when he scored CAVALLERIA, which was for director Gofredo Alessandrini, this was followed in 1937 with the score for TOMB OF ANGELS and then in 1938 with LA CACCIA ALLA VOLPE NELLA CAMPAGNA ROMANA. As the 1940,s dawned Masetti became one of Italy’s most in demand composers, he would often work on 7 or 8 movies per year. He scored productions such as THE GORGON (1942), JEALOUSY (1943) and ENRICO IV in 1944. Masetti employed a unique style for his film scores, the composer leaned towards the romantic, but also was capable of creating dramatic and atonal music, which were the right credentials for a composer of music for the cinema. By the end of WWII Masetti was still one of the busiest composers in Italy, and scored a handful of productions that were given an international release these included the acclaimed THE GATE OF HEAVEN in 1945.
In 1946, Masetti was one of the first composers to receive the Nastri d’Argento award for Best Score for his music for MALIA. The Maestro also began to teach at this time, passing on his wealth of experience to aspiring musicians and composers. Masetti,s students included Mario Nascimbene, who went on to become one of Italy’s busiest and most respected composers. During the years1948-1949 he wrote a book entitled La Musica nel Film, which was published in 1950. This soon became popular and also was used as a standard point of referral for film music within the Italian film industry.
Enzo Masetti remained one of the busiest film music composers throughout the 1950,s and scored movies such as HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED, both of which became popular both in and outside of Italy. was one of the busiest screen composers in Italy for another decade, His music for both of these peplums display the maestro at his best , providing the movies with rich and dramatically expansive scores, that also contained some lush and haunting romantically laced compositions. After scoring HERCULES UNCHAINED (1958), Masetti retired from writing film music. He passed away on Feb, 11th 1961.

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