The first in a series of reviews and news old and new about music from Italian movies.
After so many years fans of Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, will be in raptures as BEAT records in Rome finally release the score for Banana Joe.
It’s been four decades since the movie first appeared in cinema’s and is a much-requested soundtrack amongst the fans of the composers and devotees of Italian film music. It has been something of a mystery as to why this score has never seen the light of day until now that is, and a title that is long overdue taking its place in the composer’s discography alongside so many other cherished works for TV and Cinema from the 1970’s and in this case the 1980’s. Thanks to locating the original master tapes in Cabum archives, the label of the siblings it has been possible to prepare this deluxe CD with a 16 pages coloured booklet. It is a perfect gift for the festive season, and once heard is a score that will be returned to again and again.
This is however a ltd edition with BEAT releasing both LP (DDJLP15DLX), and CD (DDJ28DLX), with numbers restricted to seven hundred copies, so hurry and order it now. The booklet boasts liner notes by Daniele De Gemini of BEAT and is remastered by Enrico his brother. The artwork used is the original work of the great artist Renato Casaro. If you love Italian movie scores and are a follower of the sometimes-quirky style of De Angelis, and catchy vocals this is an essential purchase.
Staying with BEAT and the label have released for the first time onto compact disc the music from Commissariato Di Notturna, a 1973 comedy directed by Guido Leoni and starring Gastone Moschin, Rosanna Schiaffino, Maurice Ronet, Luciano Salce, Carlo Giuffré, Giorgio Ardisson, Antonio Casagrande, Emma Danieli, Giacomo Furia, and Gisela Hahn. Plus, La Supplente a movie that successfully mixed both comedy and sex which was released two years later in 1975. The film was directed by Guido Leoni and starred Carmen Villani, Eligio Zamara, Carlo Giuffré, Dayle Haddon, Alvaro Brunetti, Gisela Hahn, Gastone Pescucci, Giusi Raspani Dandolo, Giacomo Furia. For Commissariato di notturna composer Renato Rascel wrote a score based on a central theme that he repeated throughout the movie in various arrangements and was performed by a variety of instrumentation, the theme which was pop orientated and upbeat at times was performed by the choir of Nora Orlandi Coro 4+4, as well as being given a tango treatment and then delivered by a moog synth.
The score also contains an affecting and haunting love theme entitled Addio Sera, which is performed by solo guitar that is underlined by piano and supported by strings, and in one variation is performed with solo female voice. La Supplente, is a little different although just as rewarding and entertaining with the composer employing Latin rhythms that weave in and out of the proceedings purveying romantic interludes and joyous passages. The score too has its fair share of drama which is conveyed perfectly via the utilization of orchestral textures and colours that are enhanced by choral performances.
Another release from BEAT that will be available soon is the full score for The Tiffany Memorandum, which is the work of Riz Ortolani, the film is essentially a homage to the worlds of James Bond, Matt Helm and the Our Man Flint movies. This time around BEAT have included extra cues and improved sound quality, again another worthy addition to your Italian film music collection.
Fellow Italian soundtrack label Digit-Movies have re-released Maestro Bruno Nicolai’s The case of the scorpion’s tail (Italian title; ‘La coda dello scorpione’), The case of the bloody iris (Italian title; Perché Quelle Strane Gocce di Sangue sul Corpo di Jennifer?), All the colours of the dark (Italian title; Tutti i Colori del Buio) and Your vice is a locked room and only I have the key (Italian Title; Il Tuo Vizio è Una Stanza Chiusa e Solo io ne ho la Chiave) on compact disc but this time in a very desirable box set.
The four thrilling and arguable most well-known soundtracks composed by the Maestro for Giallo movies are once again brought to life in this deluxe edition, many thought that these impressive works for the genre would never resurface but at last more collectors can now savour the enticing work of Nicolai. Who is a composer that was at times ignored and underrated.
The set comes with new artwork on the outer box that houses the four discs and new notes within a booklet of thirty-two pages. The set is also available as a four CD and two LP set with different artwork, the LP edition contains, double marbled yellow vinyl with a selection of the best themes of the four soundtracks, one for each side of the records.
Four CD’s containing the full scores, a thirty-two-page booklet and a poster. Certainly, a feast for fans well worth looking at if you did not get these releases first time around.
A box set of vinyl seven-inch singles that has been released by Four Flies Records in Italy is Alessandroni Proibito-Music from Red Light Films 1977 to 1980. The collection contains fourteen tracks from composer Alessandro Alessandroni, which are spread over five discs and show a very different side to the composer, because they display a more experimental and pop orientated style that maybe many have not heard from him in the past. We associate him with Morricone more than any other film composer, but Alessandroni was essentially the sound of the Italian western score, as a whistler, guitarist and choral director and performer for many other composer’s as well as Morricone, often he was overlooked and he himself once told me that he was “A Performer Not A Star”. Today his persistent presence and important role within Italian film music from the early 1960’s through to the 1990’s has been finally recognized by music professionals and enthusiasts alike, and quite rightly so he is also now considered the true father of Italian library music – a genre whose sound he shaped and was responsible for developing since 1968. Looking at the Four Flies website there is a treasure trove of Italian quality movie music there plus albums by composers who worked in both film and in the composition of library tracks and easy/lounge music. Check it out I am sure you will find something.
This box set contains music from the four soft-core erotic films that included hard-core sequences and, therefore, fell somewhere in-between normal commercial distribution and the underground scene of adult movie theatres. Many being screened in what was referred to as specialty cinemas or art house picture houses. The films are Lulu La Sposa Erotica, La Parte Piu Appetitosa Del Maschio, Incontri Molto Ravvicinati…Del Quarto Tipo and Emanuelle a Thaiti. It’s an interesting collection, that contains compositions that are jazz influenced and purvey that steamy sound associated with many Italian movies of the 1970’s and 1980’s. But also at times resemble The William Tell Overture and even bare some resemblance to Hotel California by the Eagles without the vocals. It is a must have for fans of Italian movie scores and is also available on the likes of Spotify. The vinyl edition is wonderfully packaged and presented, and the music is something that you will return to and treasure forever.